Isotretinoin resource

forehead with acne pimples

The Australasian College of Dermatologists has released a position statement on isotretinoin for the treatment of acne, to help health professionals including pharmacists

In Australia, isotretinoin can only be prescribed by specialist dermatologists and physicians in accordance with Federal, state and territory legislation, the College highlights.

Patients undergoing treatment with isotretinoin may be concurrently receiving care from general practitioners or allied health professionals for related or unrelated conditions.

Dr Jo-Ann See, dermatologist with the ACD, who was involved with the development of the ACD position statement says: “Isotretinoin is an oral retinoid prescribed for the treatment of severe, persistent or scarring acne”.

“With over 30 years in clinical use, isotretinoin is accepted as the most effective treatment for severe acne, offering long term remission for the majority of patients.”

The ACD position statement aims to provide guidance to primary or allied health professionals and pharmacists wanting to know more about isotretinoin, or who have patients undergoing treatment with this medication to help inform their patient management strategies within the primary care or community-based setting.

“The ACD position statement provides advice to all doctors on use in women of child-bearing potential, other contraindications, precautions, dosage, adverse effects and mental health,” says Dr See.

Acne is the most common of skin diseases, affecting 85% of Australians aged 15 to 24 years old. Adult acne is acne that starts in the early 20s in individuals who may not previously have had a problem with acne. It can occur in men, but is more frequently seen in women.

“Currently, there is no universally accepted grading system for acne. When treating acne dermatologists look at types of acne lesions, disease severity, anatomical sites and scarring – and use consistently to guide disease management planning and assess treatment response.”

Isotretinoin is subsided under the PBS when prescribed for the treatment of severe cystic acne that is unresponsive to conventional therapies.

Dermatologists can prescribe isotretinoin for indications other than that specified by the PBS. These prescriptions are off-label and are not eligible for PBS reimbursement.

Read the position statement here.

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