Isotretinoin in the management of acne vulgaris: practical prescribing

Int J Dermatol. 2021 Apr;60(4):451-460. doi: 10.1111/ijd.15089. Epub 2020 Aug 29.


Since it was first approved for use in 1982, isotretinoin has revolutionized the management of acne vulgaris. Despite almost four decades of widespread use, uncertainty still exists regarding the manner in which it is best prescribed. In this review, we provide an update on the pharmacokinetics, mechanism of action, contraindications, interactions, and appropriate dosing schedule of isotretinoin in the treatment of acne. We also discuss the safety of performing concurrent dermatological procedures in patients taking isotretinoin.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Acne Vulgaris* / drug therapy
  • Dermatologic Agents* / adverse effects
  • Humans
  • Isotretinoin / adverse effects


  • Dermatologic Agents
  • Isotretinoin