Federal Representatives Concerned with Psychological Risks Associated with the Oral Acne Treatment Drug, Accutane

Federal lawmakers are now pushing the courts to tighten up the regulation of Accutane, due to the risk it has on the psychological well-being of its users.  The drug has been known to be able to cause depression, violent mood swings, and even suicide.  One proposed idea of regulating these possible side effects includes having Rocher, the makers of Accutane, fund studies that would analyze the psychological effects of the drug.  The proposal was led by Rep. Bart Stupak, whose son committed suicide after taking Accutane. The congressman also pushed a required warning form that needed to be signed by anyone taking the drug, which would outline all the risks that came with using it.

There was an emotional scent of sadness lingering in the air, as Stupak’s family members were in attendance along with those who had lost loved ones due to the drug.  The lawmakers pushing for these regulations criticized the company for not being responsible enough in informing its potential users the possible risks involved the drug carried.
However, the company defended their position by claiming to the FDA committee that sudden psychological instances, such as suicide, is impossible to trace back to the drug as the only contributing factor, especially in teenagers suffering from acne, who already deal with major emotional and social stress. They also noted that suicide rarely stems from one issues, but rather a collection of triggers of distress, which lead up to emotional overload.

Accutane was first introduced in 1982 and was meant to be used to treat only the most severe cases of acne.  It is also not allowed to be used by pregnant women, as it can cause major birth defects. FDA records also show that many suicides may be linked to the drug, and the likely hood is increasing, as suicide rates of teens on Accutane is becoming more common, with an average of 2 deaths per month.

Accutane now warns its users of possibly causing depression, psychosis and, in rare cases, suicide attempts.  Due to many external factors, and lack of data, the drug cannot be said to cause depression or psychological instability.  Some lawmakers are horrified at the FDA for letting the drug be released to the public and have claimed that it is one of the most dangerous drugs that the FDA has approved for legal use.  Doctors however, say that the drug is a valuable acne treatment, especially in severe case, but should not be taken lightly.  Also, the patients on the drug should be heavily monitored, due to the many possible negative side effects that may accompany it.  This includes monthly blood tests and regular check-ups with their dermatologist.