Note: At the Advanced Acne Institute, we provide telemedicine/telehealth visits for Accutane treatment. Our telemedicine/telehealth visits are comprehensive and detailed appointments in which our board certified dermatologist will evaluate suitability for Accutane treatment and plan and coordinate the Accutane treatment process without the requirement of an in-office visit. Our virtual encounters allow us to reach out to acne sufferers who would otherwise be unable to access Accutane treatment due to scheduling conflicts with school or work or because of the inability to find a dermatologist nearby.
Not all medical providers prescribe Accutane
Accutane is the most effective prescription medication for the treatment of acne. It is very effective for most acne sufferers and for nearly all forms of acne. Completely clear skin is the ultimate goal for those taking Accutane and the majority of those treated remain acne-free even after concluding their course of Accutane treatment.
Unfortunately, as effective as Accutane can be, obtaining a prescription for Accutane can be challenging.
First, not all medical providers are authorized to prescribe Accutane. Although general medical doctors are occasionally able to provide Accutane treatment, dermatologists are the most common prescribers of Accutane. This is because the treatment of acne with Accutane is typically part of a dermatologist’s specialty and requires a great deal of experience in order to provide a safe and effective treatment.
However, making things even more difficult when seeking treatment with Accutane is the fact that not all dermatologists prescribe Accutane. Many specialize in other fields of dermatology such as skin cancer treatments or cosmetic procedures and the treatment of acne and the use of Accutane are not within their scope of practice.
Also, for acne sufferers who live in more rural locations, finding a dermatologist, let alone one who prescribes Accutane, can be even more challenging.
Accutane treatment through telehealth and online sources
Because of these limitations, many acne sufferers attempt to seek treatment with Accutane through online health options. The good news is that the possibility does exist for those seeking treatment with Accutane via telemedicine / telehealth or teledoc providers.
However, it is not very common or easy to locate a provider who performs telehelth Accutane treatment. Why is this the case? The answer is because of the particular requirements that accompany Accutane treatment.
For example, one of the limitations to providing telehealth Accutane treatment has to do with various monitoring requirements for patients under treatment with Accutane.
One such monitoring requirement prior to obtaining a prescription for Accutane pertains to the requirement for each patient to enroll in the government mandated iPledge Program for pregnancy prevention. The iPledge program is a mandatory requirement for every patient on Accutane in the United States.
The iPledge program monitors all female patients of child-bearing potential for compliance with pregnancy prevention measures. This is because of the risk of severe birth defects that can result if a pregnant woman is exposed to Accutane.
While important for the safety of pregnant women, this monitoring requirement can be time consuming for medical practices and has therefore led to a reduction in the number of dermatologists who choose to prescribe Accutane. This has resulted in less access to the medication by acne sufferers.
Therefore, the use of Telehealth and/or online Accutane services has become even more important in order to ensure access to this very important medication by acne sufferers who are otherwise limited in their ability to find an authorized provider.
Additional monitoring for patients under treatment with Accutane requires routine follow up appointments with the doctor each month. This is also a requirement of the iPledge program and is necessary in order for the provider to monitor the effects of Accutane treatment as well as to check for any side effects.
A prime example of the importance of close monitoring is the common occurrence of an “Accutane purge” in the beginning of treatment in which patients can experience a significant worsening of their acne typically within the first several weeks after starting treatment with Accutane.
It is very important for the dermatologist to monitor each patient for the onset of the “Accutane purge” in order to make appropriate adjustments to treatment in order to limit the severity of the temporary acne flare.
Another example is the requirement for monthly blood work which is also commonly needed in order to monitor for any systemic negative effects of Accutane treatment. Liver function testing, blood count and lipid levels are commonly checked while under treatment with Accutane.
This requirement does not typically affect the virtual treatment process because patients can access local blood testing facilities while receiving treatment with Accutane through virtual telemedicine/telehealth or online dermatologists.
Accutane monitoring through Telehealth and online providers is convenient
The requirement for close monitoring and monthly follow-up appointments makes the use of Telehealth and/or online Accutane prescribing even more convenient and accessible to acne sufferers who otherwise are constrained by school, work or other scheduling hardships that would otherwise make it difficult for them to make monthly in-person appointments with their dermatologist.
Aside from the above challenges that hinder access to Accutane treatment through conventional office-based dermatologists, Telehealth and/or online Accutane prescribing options offer convenience and an opportunity for treatment without compromising appropriate monitoring.
The Advanced Acne Institute is a unique dermatology practice located in Miami, Florida specializing only in the treatment of acne. We focus solely on providing the most effective treatments to help our patients achieve clear skin. We are pleased to share our insights and perspectives in acne treatment as an educational service, however this information is provided strictly for educational purposes only and should not be considered medical advice and is not a substitute for seeking the advice and treatment by an appropriate medical professional.