This blog post answers the question that frequently comes up for many acne sufferers while taking Accutane.  That is, what if you miss a dose?

We all know that it is not easy to always remember to take a medication exactly on time and exactly as prescribed and for the exact time period that it was prescribed.  The same applies to  treatment with Accutane.

There are already a fair amount of rules and restrictions that go along with taking a course of Accutane, e.g. it must be taken with a heavy meal, alcohol consumption should be avoided, significant sun exposure should be prevented to name just a few.

So what if we forget to take a dose?  Will this derail our treatment and cause the treatment to be less effective?

Missed doses have limited impact on treatment

Well, first we have to realize that no one is perfect and this will likely happen to everyone who is taking Accutane at some point.  Circumstances may arise that cause us to skip a dose from time-to-time or we may simply just forget a dose off-and-on.

There may even be a time when your dermatologist may decide to temporarily stop your treatment or reduce your dose of Accutane because of a side effect or other occurrence.

Some patients, for example, exhibit a flare of their acne in response to the start of Accutane treatment which sometimes necessitates temporarily discontinuing Accutane treatment until the flare subsides.

So the answer to the question “what to do if you miss a dose of Accutane” is fairly straightforward.  A missed dose of Accutane or a missed day of Accutane or a missed week of Accutane will typically not be expected to significantly affect the overall outcome of treatment.

First of all, Accutane stays in your system for a couple of weeks, slowly decreasing over time. So missing a single dose is not the same as turning off a light switch.  There is still medication present for some time.

Second, acne is not an infection so missing a dose of Accutane is not the same as missing a dose of an antibiotic which is necessary to prevent an infection from progressing.

Third, the dose and frequency of Accutane treatment is monitored and sometimes altered based on a given patient’s response to treatment and the occurrence of various side effects.  So it is part of the treatment process to make changes as the dermatologist decides are necessary.

This underscores the expectation that the dose and regimen of Accutane therapy are not necessarily fixed for the duration of treatment.  Alterations in the treatment regimen are not completely unexpected.

Different dermatologists may prescribe Accutane differently–even to the same patient

It is further important to understand that dermatologists may differ in how they prescribe Accutane which can often differ based on the individual circumstances of each patient.  Therefore, guidance for missing one or more doses of Accutane should be addressed with the dermatologist who is prescribing the Accutane regimen.

Notwithstanding the preceding comments, it is always advisable to adhere to the dosing schedule of Accutane treatment as prescribed by the dermatologist.  While occasional lapses in dosing are not likely to significantly affect the treatment outcome, frequently missing doses can lessen Accutane’s effectiveness and reduce the overall success of Accutane treatment.

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.


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