Accutane and Drinking Alcohol – No Problem, Apparently

Written by on July 9, 2009 in Accutane and Roaccutane with 0 Comments


This just published abstract is suggesting that it appears to be safe to consume alcohol while taking accutane.

Whilst the Accutane Prescribing Information does not prohibit the consumption of alcohol, it does suggest that alcohol may add to any issues with triglycerides induced by accutane. So it is probably wise to moderate alcohol consumption, despite this study using several patients with `considerable weekly alcohol intake’. Accutane is thought to cause depression in some people, and adding a depressant like alcohol to this combination could be risky.

Interesting that the study found a steep enough drop off in the studied teratogenics after 1 month post treatment to suggest that pregnancy would be safe. The Accutane Prescribing Information also suggests that you should not donate blood for 1 month following ceasing treatment.

This is just one study of course. When you read the list of potential side effects you can’t but think you still need to follow a doctor’s advice carefully. I’d be inclined to read the prescribing information closely and heed my doctor’s advice before taking this study’s findings too far.

One final word of warning, although there is no substantive link between alcohol and rosacea, alcohol can cause strong flushing symptoms. As most rosacea sufferers will tell you, reducing obvious flushing triggers, where possible, is worthwhile pursuing.

The metabolism and pharmacokinetics of isotretinoin in patients with acne and rosacea are not influenced by ethanol, Br J Dermatol. 2009 May 21, Grønhøj Larsen F, Jakobsen P, Grønhøj Larsen C, Heidenheim M, Held E, Nielsen-Kudsk F.

Background: Isotretinoin is effective in the treatment of severe acne and rosacea. Both parent drug and its main metabolite 4-oxo-isotretinoin are potentially teratogenic compounds and contain a carboxylic acid moiety. In the presence of ethanol, naturally occurring as well as synthetic retinoids also containing a carboxylic acid moiety are capable of undergoing an ethyl esterification with the metabolic formation of more lipophilic compounds with a much longer terminal half-life.

Objectives: To determine if isotretinoin (13-cis-RA), its main metabolite 4-oxo-isotretinoin (4-oxo-13-cis-RA), and other possible metabolites in the presence or absence of ethanol are converted to their corresponding ethyl derivatives in patients with severe acne or rosacea after multiple isotretinoin dosing. In addition, pharmacokinetic parameters of the parent drug and its 4-oxo metabolite were determined.

Patients/methods: Eleven patients with severe acne or rosacea were treated with isotretinoin daily for 3 months and investigated pharmacokinetically during 24 h after 1 month of treatment and for up to 28 days after discontinuation of therapy. A possible influence of ethanol was evaluated using a simple self-administered questionnaire and by measuring serum ethanol levels during treatment. The concentrations of isotretinoin, 4-oxo-isotretinoin and possible ethylated and nonethylated metabolites were measured by reverse-phase high-performance liquid chromatography.

Results: Although seven of 11 patients had a considerable weekly alcohol intake, no endogenous synthesis of ethyl derivatives of isotretinoin, the main 4-oxo metabolite or the all-trans compounds was chromatographically detectable in any of the patients’ plasma samples during the treatment period. Multiple dose pharmacokinetic data for the parent drug and its main metabolite were comparable to previous studies.

Conclusions: The metabolism and pharmacokinetics of isotretinoin and its main metabolites are not influenced by ethanol during long-term isotretinoin treatment. After ceasing long-term isotretinoin therapy the recommended period of 1 month for using anticonceptive measures in fertile women seems adequate.

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About the Author: David Pascoe started the Rosacea Support Group in October 1998. .

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