Isotretinoin (13-cis-retinoic acid) is a medication primarily used to treat severe acne. It's also occasionally used to help prevent certain skin cancers such as squamous-cell carcinoma, and (rarely) in the treatment of some other cancers. It's sold under various brand names, including : Accutane, Roaccutane, Rizuderm and more than 120 others.
While isotretinoin is currently the most effective agent for patients with moderate-to-severe acne, the drug’s potential to induce human congenital abnormalities, and its wide range of adverse side-effects, is driving research to find replacements. This is hampered because :
“Isotretinoin's exact mechanism of action is unknown, but several studies have shown that isotretinoin induces apoptosis (programmatic cell death) in various cells in the body.”
At pharmacologic doses, isotretinoin inhibits sebaceous gland function and keratinization, but as noted above, its precise mechanism of action is unknown. Several studies have shown that isotretinoin induces apoptosis (programmatic cell death) in various cells in the body.
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