If a woman prescribed Accutane gets pregnant her baby faces a real chance of birth defects.
While there have always been efforts to prevent women on this medicatoin from getting pregnant, beginning this month the government has set in place its most aggressive program to date.
If you don't have severe acne it might be tough to understand what patients that do, go through.
For 14-year old Christopher Brown its in the way people look at him, and what his peers actually say.
" They look at you like you are dirty or something along those lines."
After trying numerous treatments, Christopher says for the last three months he opted to try Accutane.
Considered the last resort for acne, Accutane is 90-percent effective in patients during their first course of treatment. But it does come at risk. Women on the medication, if they get pregnant can have children with birth defects. It has happened during the medication's 20-year run on the market, and now the federal government is taking extra steps in what could be a last ditch effort to keep the drug available. Martin Moore is a nurse practioner. His practice focuses on dermatology.
" It perhaps will make people think more, and remind them on a more regular basis of their responsibility in taking the medication "
Moore says prescribing Accutane has always involved paper work...including female patients assuring they are on two forms of birth control. But now after the once a month visit, he, the patient, and the pharmacists must log in or call "I pledge" national registry to confirm counseling, a negative pregnancy test, and registration within the program.
And that's after two negative pregnancy tests before even being placed on Accutane.
Male patients receive similar counseling and constrants when on Accutane. However, there is no chance that they will themselves get pregnant.
Nor is there evidence children born to fathers on Accutane run the risk of birth defects.