If you are an athlete and are considering starting Accutane, there is a justifiable concern about taking this medication.
Accutane can take quite a toll on the body; however, most athletes who have taken the medication have reported very few side effects.
So, while Accutane isn’t necessarily bad for athletes, it’s not the best option either, as it does come with a few potential side effects such as joint pain, headaches, and general weakness that could affect your athletic performance.
And because this answer is nowhere near as simple as you might want it to be, continue reading this article to find out what the data says.
What is Accutane And What Does It Do?
Accutane is the brand name for the medication known as isotretinoin, an oral medication used to treat severe acne on the face and body.
It is also commonly prescribed to people whose acne has resisted previous treatments, such as benzoyl peroxide, adapalene, and antibiotics, as well as those dealing with severe acne in larger areas such as the chest and back.
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.
This can help acne since excess oil is essentially food for the acne-causing bacteria that live on the skin, therefore, lack of it will cause the bacteria to become starved, thus minimizing proliferation and eventually minimizing acne, too.
What Are The Side Effects of Accutane?
Despite its efficacy, Accutane is known to come with some unpleasant side effects, the most common ones including dry skin, chapped lips, and dry eyes.
Sometimes, people that are going through a long course of Accutane can experience joint pain, headaches, and hair loss, but these are rarer side effects that don’t happen to most people.
But despite that, it’s important to note that one of the main reasons for these side effects is the lack of our natural oil because we need the oil produced by our sebaceous glands to lubricate our skin, joints, hair, and eyes.
Without it, everything will dry out and start to itch, sting, and lead to inflammation and discomfort.
Another important thing to note about Accutane is that it’s also a teratogen, meaning it can cause birth defects in pregnant women.
For this reason, women who are taking Accutane must use two forms of contraception and take regular pregnancy tests to make sure they’re not pregnant while undergoing the medication and/or a couple of months after stopping it for precaution.
RELATED: Is Accutane Good for Hormonal Acne?
Is Accutane Bad for Athletes?
Since joint pain is one of the observed side effects of Accutane, it can be assumed that this medication can potentially be bad for athletes.
This is because athletes put a lot of stress on their joints, and if the joints are already weak and/or inflamed, it can lead to injury as well as pain during performance.
There have been studies conducted to test this theory, and the findings were interesting: while some of the participants reported joint pain, others didn’t seem to be affected by Accutane at all.
This particular study that included 94 participants determined that Accutane can potentially induce low back pain that can be mechanical or inflammatory.
It was also concluded that Accutane-induced back pains could be dose-related, meaning the stronger the medication is and the longer you take it, you could be at a higher risk of experiencing some pain.
Another study performed on two male athletes who were undergoing an Accutane treatment encountered two cases of acute, aseptic arthritis of the knee during the third week and third month of therapy.
However, after obtaining synovial fluid (the thick liquid between the joints) from only one of the patients, it was observed that this occurrence was non-inflammatory.
Additionally, arthritis resolved in both participants without any consequences, despite the continuation of Accutane treatment in one of them.
This observation indicated that arthritis with joint effusion may complicate Accutane use and that alternative treatments should be considered before prescribing the medication to patients with rheumatologic disorders.
So it seems that while Accutane may not be good for athletes, it really depends on the individual and how their body reacts to the medication.
It also depends on whether the person taking Accutane is dealing with a condition that manifests as joint pain before taking the medication.
It seems like if someone is already suffering from joint pain, this could be amplified during the Accutane treatment.
This is why it’s always best to consult with a doctor before starting Accutane, as well as paying attention to your body’s reaction to it.
If Accutane is affecting you in a way that’s interfering with your athletic performance, it might be best to stop taking the medication and explore other treatment options for acne.
Does Accutane Decrease Athletic Performance?
Accutane could potentially decrease athletic performance, especially if you start experiencing side effects such as joint pain, frequent headaches, as well as other discomforts such as dry eyes.
You can also notice some other symptoms, such as general weakness, which could interfere with your performance; however, it’s important to note that you have to be extremely careful of what you eat when taking Accutane as an athlete.
Perhaps switching up your diet to something rich in healthy fats, vitamins, and minerals could help alleviate some of the Accutane side effects.
Additionally, make sure to stay hydrated, as Accutane can cause dehydration.
It’s also important to get enough sleep, as this will help your body recover from Accutane-induced fatigue and improve your cognitive function.
However, it’s important to remember that what side effects you encounter and their severity is unique to you, so there is no sure way to tell whether starting Accutane will affect you.
In short, if you are an athlete and are thinking about taking Accutane, it’s best to consult with your doctor first and assess the risks based on your unique lifestyle.
Are Accutane Side Effects Permanent?
There is no evidence that Accutane will significantly impact athletic performance once you stop taking the medication.
Accutane side effects are also generally not permanent and will go away once you stop taking the medication.
However, there is a concern that Accutane can potentially increase the chances of fatty liver, which is a condition that affects about 10-25% of the population worldwide.
Fatty liver is a condition where there is an accumulation of fat in the liver, potentially leading to cirrhosis, a life-threatening disease that permanently damages the liver and can lead to liver failure.
Which is why while taking Accutane, you should avoid drinking, as this will potentially put you at a higher risk of fatty liver.
Additionally, it would help if you also focused on eating healthy and exercising regularly (but not strenuously, unless you are a professional athlete), as this will help keep your liver in good shape.
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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