Can Your Acne Medicine Make You Commit Suicide?!

acne accutane suicide

Can acne medication like Accutane cause suicide? | Source: ShutterStock

Acne is a pain in the behind to deal with, but some acne medicines can actually cause problems a lot worse than blemishes. Accutane is coming under fire for being linked to suicide. Soooo scary!

Accutane used to a prescription-only oral acne medication in the U.S., and it was supposed to only be prescribed for the most severe cases of acne as a total last resort. But after reports of Accutane users becoming depressed and committing suicide grew more and more rampant, the drug was pulled from the market. There were also a slew of lawsuits against Roche, the company behind Accutane, for causing “inflammatory bowels.” You can imagine how pleasant that would be. (Ew.)

However, Accutane is still sold overseas. A new epidemic of Accutane-related suicide cases have risen in the U.K., and there are cries to pull the medication–known there as Roaccutane–from pharmacies.

This may seem like it doesn’t have too much of an effect on you if you live in the states, but it does. It’s really easy to buy medications like Accutane online without a prescription. You might be tempted to try it out if your own acne treatments from your dermatologist don’t do the trick. Please don’t. Not only is it illegally, but it’s so dangerous, because you have no one to go to if you have weird side effects like depression or worse. Clear skin is not worth your life!

Have you ever had bad experiences with Accutane? Do you know anyone who’s been suicidal because of Accutane? Do you think Accutane causes suicide or that there’s more to the story than that? Do you think Accutane was rightfully pulled from shelves? Tell us in the comments!

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  • Kelly vela

    I’m on minocycline and I am so depressed and have been feeling worthless, like I have no purpose, no hope and should just die. So I started taking one dose a day instead of two and the suicidal thoughts have lifted but the depression is still there. I’m going to stop taking the medicine. I don’t want to die trying to get clear skin!!!!

  • LoLo

    I had terrible acne from age 15 to 23, and was put on oral antibiotics for four years with (of course) no result – this was in the 90’s, and thankfully today doctors know better. After suffering for almost a decade with shockingly severe and painful cystic acne (people almost could not bear to look at me), a doctor who felt sorry for me took pity and provided me with a free 5-month course of Accutane, using pharmaceutical samples. Accutane was prescribable and promoted in the U.S. at the time. I followed instructions to the letter, abstaining entirely from alcohol and using oral birth control as prescribed to prevent against defects. In addition, I ate a vegetarian diet and underwent accupuncture for liver support (this was not suggested, but I believe it was helpful). The doctor said that my monthly blood tests showed no adverse liver reaction to the Accutane at all – they couldn’t tell I was on the drug. My acne cleared in one 5-month regimen and it has not recurred again in the last 20 years. People who didn’t know me before age 23 are astounded to learn I had such severe acne. BTW, my younger sister did not abstain from alcohol or eat vegetarian when she used Accutane, and she did not have anywhere near the 100% effective results that I did. She did two 5-month regimens, but continued to suffer from moderate outbreaks into her 30’s. My personal conclusion is that it is important to keep your liver clean while you use Accutane. Also, it seems Accutane may not be equally effective for everyone, and in fact, may sometimes even be dangerous for some people though it is helpful for others. Hard to know which person you are, but as for me, I am eternally grateful to Accutane. With that said, using a Himalayan salt bar for facial cleansing in combination with face masks of honey mixed with baking soda has so far cleared up the first acne flare-ups experienced by my daughters – no drugs required. IMO, whatever you do, DON’T use drugstore-bought topical products (b.p., s.a., and retinol). ALL of them will just make the acne worse.

  • mayte

    I’m now finishing my second go at this treatment ( I did it when I was 11 and I started it again last year at 15) and along with two laser treatments to my face and several peelings I finally got rid of acne so I’m glad I did it even though of the side effects which for me was kind of like pms only more intense (I would jus start crying because too manny people were talking at the same time, and run to the bathroom to bawl my eyes out because my jumps weren’t coming out right during skating practice. I also went through some difficulty breathing and really dry skin and lips. those really sucked but now I glad I went through it because it worked.

  • Madison

    About a year ago I finished my last round of Accutane. I never felt depressed while on the medicine, nor did I have any complications with the drug. However, some of my friends who also were on the the drug had different emotional and health complications and had to end treatment. I think the effects of Accutane are as unique as the person taking it, but as long as you and your doctor monitor your body and its changes the drug is safe. Just know your body! Of course you will feel a little low on self-esteem because of the peeling skin and dry lips that Accutane causes, but that is how the drug works. I will say, hiding my back and shoulders due to bad acne was more likely to cause depression than the drug itself. Now, after multiple pills and washes, I have clear skin, and more confidence.

  • swimmingchick05

    I used Accutane last year and I didn’t encounter depression once. My acne is now gone and its not as bad as it used to be. It was my last resort and my dermatologist told me the side effects and I made myself aware of every one of them. If you do start taking Accutane you have to do a couple of tests. The tests were for tracking pregnancy. You can’t get pregnant before, during, or right after Accutane because of risks of birth defects.

  • Louise

    I live in the UK and saw a documentory about roaccutane / accutane. It told the story of a man who commited suicide due to this drug and it was extremely upseting. I hope that roaccutane is banned in the UK too as even though the depression and suicide only affects small numbers of those who take it, it is not worth their lives to cure acne. There are many other treatments that can cure acne without strong medication so i don’t know why it is still avalible