Accutane Side Effects

Although Accutane can treat chemotherapy patients and relieve severe acne, it has been shown to cause severe and debilitating side effects. Lawsuits filed on behalf of patients suffering from the side effects of doctor-prescribed Accutane treatment have yielded high awards and settlements of up to $25.16 million. Over 5,000 lawsuits have been filed over bowel problems alone. The side effects of Accutane range from severe to mild, including:

Ulcerative Colitis

Ulcerative colitis is a chronic medical condition of the gastrointestinal tract. It is a form of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) that causes inflammation and ulcers. Severe cases of ulcerative colitis have been known to cause severe bleeding, rupture of the colon, shock, and even death. After several outbreaks of inflammation, the intestinal wall and rectum will thicken from scar tissue. This results in severe chronic diarrhea. Attacks are often very painful and physically debilitating.

Some cases of ulcerative colitis require hospitalization and surgery. Many patients must have their colon completely removed, resulting in the lifelong use of a colostomy bag for the collection of digested waste.

Accutane users have reported experiencing ulcerative colitis symptoms immediately, while for others it can take months or years. There are several early symptoms of the disease:

  • Abdominal pain
  • Audible gastrointestinal disturbances
  • Urgency to produce a bowel movement following an inability to do so
  • Rectal pain and bleeding
  • Fever
  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting

Crohn’s Disease

Crohn’s disease is another form of IBD. It generally affects the small intestine, but can develop in any part of the digestive tract, from the mouth to the anus. Symptoms can sometimes be treated with medication, but, if that fails, surgery is required. Surgery usually includes removal of the affected part of the intestine. Crohn’s disease is incurable. Even if an affected section of intestine or bowel is removed, it can recur in another section at a later time. Crohn’s disease has several symptoms:

  • Abdominal pain and discomfort, especially in the lower right side
  • Severe Diarrhea
  • Reduced or loss of appetite
  • Bloody stool
  • Ulcers
  • Painful bowel movements
  • Fever
  • Fatigue
  • Constipation
  • Eye inflammation
  • Fistulas and draining pus
  • Rash
  • Liver inflammation
  • Arthritis
  • Stunted growth

Inflammatory Bowel Disease

IBD refers to one of the two specific types listed above: ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease. Over 1 million people in the U.S. suffer from IBD and most of those are from ages 15 to 30. Experiencing any of the following symptoms may be a sign of IBD:

  • Abdominal pain
  • Arthritis or joint pain
  • Fever
  • Weight loss
  • Rash
  • Bloody stools

If several of these symptoms are experienced it is necessary to go to a doctor for a complete professional diagnosis.

Liver Damage/Liver Failure

Several patients who have undergone Accutane treatment have experienced chronic liver damage or even complete liver failure. If enough damage or failure occurs, a liver transplant will be necessary. Liver transplants are extremely expensive and complications can set in unexpectedly. Some early symptoms may be a sign of liver damage:

  • Loss of appetite
  • Fatigue
  • Nausea
  • Diarrhea
  • Unexpected weight gain or weight loss

More advanced stages of liver damage have more severe symptoms:

  • Jaundice
  • Abdominal swelling
  • Personality changes
  • Confusion
  • Fluid retention
  • Coma

Other Serious Side Effects

Several other serious side effects have been reported from those who have undergone Accutane treatment:

  • Suicidal thoughts (often leading to fulfillment)
  • Severe depression
  • Birth defects in expectant mothers
  • Allergic reactions

Additional Side Effects

Accutane users have reported the following mild and medium symptoms

  • Severe acne
  • Dry skin
  • Loss of hair
  • Headache
  • Eczema
  • Brittle nails
  • Sensitivity to sunlight
  • Menstrual disturbances and disruptions
  • Muscle pain

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