Isotretinoin for rosacea

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. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) requires companies that make isotretinoin to register doctors who prescribe isotretinoin and the people who take isotretinoin. The program tries to ensure that people taking this medicine understand the risk of birth defects, take precautions to avoid pregnancy, and know what to do if they become pregnant. If your doctor suggests that you take isotretinoin, you must register with iPLEDGE to get the medicine. You can get more information and register at or by telephone at 1-866-495-0654 (toll-free).


  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.

Last Updated: July 14, 2009

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