Isotretinoin (Iso) has been used for the treatment of acne. Some previous studies reported elevated homocysteine (Hcy) levels after treatment with Iso. Some side effects have clinical presentations similar to vitamin B12, folic acid deficiencies, and hyperhomocysteinemia. In the present study we evaluated the plasma Hcy levels, the vitamins involved in its metabolism (vitamin B12 and folic acid), and holotranscobalamin (HoloTC), a transport system for vitamin B12 absorption in patients receiving Iso treatment for acne vulgaris. A total of 66 patients with acne vulgaris between the ages of 18 and 40 years were included. Screening for hemoglobin, creatinine, SGOT, SGPT, total cholesterol, triglycerides, high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL-C), low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C), and very low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (VLDL-C), folic acid, vitamin B12, Hcy, and HoloTC were done just before initiation (pretreatment) and after four months of Iso treatment (posttreatment). Posttreatment vitamin B12, folic acid, and HoloTC levels were significantly lower while Hcy levels were significantly higher compared with initial values. Posttreatment total cholesterol, LDL-C, triglycerides, VLDL-C, SGPT, and SGOT levels were also higher, and HDL-C levels were lower compared with initial values while there was no change in hemoglobin levels during Iso treatment. We found that Iso usage might cause decreased vitamin B12, folic acid, and HoloTC. These Iso side effects might contribute to the missing link between Iso usage, hyperhomocysteinemia, and neuropsychiatric disorders. Trials may be made with the aim of demonstrating (clearly) if starting vitamin B12 and folic acid replacement therapies with Iso treatment initialization could be useful for preventing hyperhomocysteinemia and possibly related disorders.
© 2011 The International Society of Dermatology.