One of the first posts I ever wrote for my blog was called Why was Accutane Taken Off the Market? in which I explained that while generic versions of the anti-acne drug were still available the original, non-generic version of Accutane had been taken off the market by its manufacturer for “business reasons”. Speculation was rife at the time that while it was true that the Swiss drug maker Roche could not compete with generics on the market they were also busy fighting off lawsuits from users who blamed their severe stomach problems or depression on Accutane.
Certainly Accutane has been controversial for a number of reasons including the fact that taking the drug while pregnant will cause terrible birth defects. Another controversy about the drug has been that it can cause depression. But Norwegian researchers have recently concluded that the depressive side effects long thought to be associated with Accutane are actually a side effect of having acne. According to the research, which included 3,775 18 and 19 year olds in Oslo, young people with acne have levels of depression and suicidal thoughts that are two to three times higher than those without acne. Subjects of the study had those thoughts regardless of what type of anti-acne medication they were on. While not all researchers agree with the findings in the Norwegian study I think it is a very interesting bit of research to share. I think it makes it abundantly clear that the psychological effects of acne should never be forgotten or dismissed.