One of the most common questions people have about taking Accutane is whether they can drink alcohol while on it.
The answer to this question isn’t as simple as “yes” or “no.”
There are a few factors that come into play when determining whether you should be drinking alcohol while taking Accutane, so read this article for more information.
What is Accutane, and How Does it Work?
Accutane is the brand name for the medication known as isotretinoin, an oral medication used to treat severe acne.
It is also commonly prescribed to people whose acne has resisted previous treatments, such as benzoyl peroxide, adapalene, and antibiotics.
The exact mechanism of action is unknown; however, it’s been observed that Accutane inhibits the function of the oil-producing glands by reducing the gland’s size.
Once the gland’s size is reduced, the gland will then produce less oil.
Since excess oil is essentially food for the acne-causing bacteria that live on the skin, lack of it will cause the bacteria to become starved, thus minimizing proliferation and eventually minimizing acne, too.
Accutane is a very effective medication; however, it’s known to come with some unpleasant side effects.
Physiological and Psychological Side Effects of Accutane
The most common side effect of taking Accutane is dry and stretched skin that can feel uncomfortable.
Additionally, Accutane is known to be particularly aggressive towards the thin skin on the lips, causing the lips to become dry, chapped, and even bleeding.
Which is why people who take Accutane also have to take their moisturizing game seriously and use body and facial moisturizers as well as chapsticks to nourish the lips.
Other possible side effects from Accutane include nosebleeds, headaches, joint pain, and hair loss.
It’s also been noted that some people experience mood swings and even depression while taking Accutane; however, a couple of studies that involved monitoring over 5,000 people who were taking the medication concluded that there’s no link between the drug and depression.
In fact, one of the studies actually proved the opposite.
Over 1,000 people taking Accutane for five months reported increased confidence as the severity of their acne subsided, which helped improve the overall quality of their lives.
With all that said, it’s important to note that while isotretinoin-induced depression could affect some people with no prior history of the disorder, a great many have had pre-existing conditions that place them at risk, including substance abuse, bipolar disorder, or a family history of depression.
It’s also important to remember that just because you’re taking Accutane doesn’t mean that you will become depressed.
Most people who did become depressed while using isotretinoin found that their symptoms went away once they stopped using the drug.
But for some people, depression and suicidal behavior persisted even after they stopped using the medication.
What are the Side Effects of Using Accutane While Drinking Alcohol?
The side effects of using Accutane while drinking alcohol can be unpleasant.
Accutane is metabolized by the liver, so drinking alcohol while on the medication can increase your risk of liver damage.
The combination of Accutane and alcohol can also lead to stomach problems, including nausea and vomiting.
Furthermore, using Accutane while drinking alcohol can increase your risk of experiencing side effects such as even more severe headaches and dry skin.
Additionally, fatigue is yet another potential side effect of mixing alcohol and Accutane as both substances can cause an increase in the neurotransmitter gamma-Aminobutyric acid (GABA), causing the body to slow down and become lethargic.
Moreover, alcohol and Accutane both affect the levels of dopamine in the brain.
Dopamine is a neurotransmitter that’s responsible for feelings of pleasure, so when you drink alcohol while taking Accutane, you may experience more intense effects from the alcohol.
The increase in dopamine production is also the factor that could potentially bring on the mental issues sometimes seen when the two substances are mixed, particularly addictive behavior and depression.
Lastly, the use of Accutane is associated with elevations in serum triglycerides and cholesterol alongside decreases in HDL cholesterol (or the good cholesterol.)
Therefore, if you’re already on a cholesterol-lowering regimen while drinking alcohol and taking Accutane, there is an increased risk of experiencing side effects from both substances.
Can You Drink Alcohol While on Accutane?
In general, alcohol and Accutane are not a safe combination, particularly if you are a heavy or binge drinker.
However, if you do want to drink alcohol while on Accutane, it’s best for your skin health and safety that you limit the amount of drinking that you do.
This way, you should be able to enjoy drinking alcohol on occasion without causing damage to your liver or putting yourself at risk for any other adverse side effects.
It’s also important that you speak with your dermatologist or health provider about the amount of alcohol that’s safe for you to drink while using Accutane and follow their recommendation regarding consumption levels.
How Much Should I Drink While Taking Accutane?
Because there are many possible side effects, it’s best to avoid alcohol consumption while taking Accutane.
However, if you choose to drink alcohol while on Accutane, the best way to do it is through guidance provided by your health provider.
It’s important to remember that everyone reacts differently to various medications, so there is no one-size-fits-all answer when it comes to how much you should drink when taking a certain medication.
There is also the dose of the medication that comes into play when considering this.
For example, the potential side effects of drinking alcohol while taking low dose Accutane might be lower and less significant than when taking a stronger dose.
You should also consider the longevity of the treatment as well as the amount of alcohol you are consuming, and the strength of the type of drinks you are enjoying.
For example, having a beer every now and again while taking a low dose of Accutane for a couple of months might not be an issue, but drinking vodka every day while taking a stronger dose of Accutane for a period of 5-6 months might potentially cause liver issues.
It’s different for everyone, which is why talking to your doctor is the best way to go, so don’t take the above as advice; it’s just an example of a suggestion.
My name is Simone and I am a certified skin specialist. I created this website to teach my readers how to take great care of their skin and I also like to occasionally share my honest opinions on skincare products I’ve tried. You can learn more about me here.
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