• IRMA BERNADETTE S. SITOHANG Department of Dermatology and Venereology, Faculty of Medicine Universitas Indonesia



Acne vulgaris, Isotretinoin, Effectiveness, Contraindications, Side effects, Safety


Acne vulgaris (AV) occurs in more than 80% of dermatological cases in adolescents and young adults and affects the quality of life. Oral isotretinoin, a metabolite product of vitamin A, is well-known to be the most effective treatment for severe nodulocystic AV and moderate AV that does not respond to other therapeutic modalities. Thus, this literature review was conducted to explain the mechanism of action, effectiveness, contraindications, side effects, and safety of oral isotretinoin in AV, which provided essential information for dermatologists. Furthermore, isotretinoin is the only treatment modality that has implications for the entire pathogenesis of acne. It contributes to decreasing corneocytes’ adhesion, supporting cellular proliferation and follicular renewal, induction of cell apoptosis, and immune regulation. The effectiveness of AV therapy with isotretinoin has expanded as it is also indicated for moderate to severe AV that does not respond well to topical combination therapy or systemic antibiotics. However, isotretinoin is included in Category X drugs and may induce many side effects from mucocutaneous effects to teratogenicity. From this extensive literature review, it can be concluded that isotretinoin is one of the treatment modalities for acne with good effectivity due to its mechanism of actions that affect the entire acne pathogenesis. Considering the various side effects of isotretinoin, its use requires adequate clinical assessment and monitoring by a dermatologist.


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How to Cite

SITOHANG, I. B. S. (2021). ISOTRETINOIN FOR TREATING ACNE VULGARIS. International Journal of Applied Pharmaceutics, 13(2), 20–25.



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