FRIDAY, March 1, 2019 (Pharmacist's Briefing) -- For patients with acne, exposure to isotretinoin is not associated with an increased risk for being diagnosed with depression, according to a study presented at the annual meeting of the American Academy of Dermatology, held from March 1 to 5 in Washington, D.C.
Bethanee Schlosser, M.D., Ph.D., from the Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine in Chicago, and colleagues extracted data for dermatology patients aged 18 to 65 years who were diagnosed with acne between January 2001 and December 2017. Depression diagnosis that occurred at least one month after the first encounter for acne was examined as the outcome of interest.
The researchers found that 41 of the 1,087 adults exposed to isotretinoin were subsequently diagnosed with depression compared with 1,775 of the 36,929 patients treated for acne without isotretinoin exposure (3.77 versus 4.81 percent). The median duration of isotretinoin exposure was five months. No significant difference was seen in the frequency of depression for acne patients exposed to isotretinoin versus those not exposed to isotretinoin.
"These results showed no significant difference in frequency of depression between acne patients treated with isotretinoin and those who receive other types of therapy," Schlosser said in a statement. "We know the mere presence of acne can be associated with mood disorders, including depression, and isotretinoin can provide significant relief for patients whose acne is not responding to other treatments and causing severe psychosocial distress."