Isotretinoin for Rosacea

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Isotretinoin for Rosacea

Topic Overview

Isotretinoin (Accutane) is a form of vitamin A. Isotretinoin is usually only used for severe rosacea or rosacea that has not responded to antibiotics. It works by decreasing blood flow in the skin of the face and preventing pores from getting plugged. Low-dose isotretinoin has worked in treating rosacea for some people.1

Isotretinoin may cause serious side effects, such as mood changes, high triglyceride levels, liver damage, fatigue, and hair loss.

Note: Women who are pregnant or may become pregnant should not take isotretinoin because of the risk of serious side effects such as miscarriage and birth defects.

Related Information



  1. Pelle MT (2008). Rosacea. In K Wolff et al., eds., Fitzpatrick's Dermatology in General Medicine, 7th ed., vol. 1, pp. 703–709. New York: McGraw-Hill Medical.


By Healthwise Staff
Primary Medical Reviewer Kathleen Romito, MD - Family Medicine
Primary Medical Reviewer Anne C. Poinier, MD - Internal Medicine
Specialist Medical Reviewer Alexander H. Murray, MD, FRCPC - Dermatology
Last Revised December 8, 2009

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