ARTICLE: Advances in Oral Isotretinoin Therapy

J Drugs Dermatol. 2021 May 1;20(5):s5-s11. doi: 10.36849/JDD.s072A.


Since its approval in 1982, oral isotretinoin has revolutionized acne therapy. However, oral isotretinoin use has long been associated with challenges of variable bioavailability and food dependence. It is recommended to ingest oral isotretinoin with a high-fat meal in order to maximize absorption, but many patients fail to adhere to this recommendation. This may lead to inadequate isotretinoin absorption levels. Patients who fail to achieve isotretinoin target cumulative dose are more likely to experience symptom relapse. To address the challenge of traditional isotretinoin variable bioavailability, subsequent isotretinoin formulations have attempted to improve its absorption abilities. In 2014, an isotretinoin formulation utilizing Lidose technology, known as Absorica, showed significant improvements in absorption levels compared to traditional oral isotretinoin in the fasted state. In 2019, isotretinoin absorption levels were further advanced in a new formulation approved by the FDA known as Absorica LD. Utilizing advanced micronization technology that physically reduces the size of the drug molecule, Absorica LD exhibits twice the absorption levels of Absorica under fasting conditions. In the fed state, Absorica LD achieves similar plasma levels to Absorica with a 20 percent lower dose. Absorica LD also produces consistent serum isotretinoin levels irrespective of gastrointestinal contents. By eliminating the “food effect” seen in traditional oral isotretinoin, Absorica LD has the potential to improve patient adherence and long-term patient outcomes. J Drugs Dermatol. 20:5(Suppl):s5-11.

MeSH terms

  • Abnormalities, Drug-Induced / etiology
  • Abnormalities, Drug-Induced / prevention & control*
  • Acne Vulgaris / blood
  • Acne Vulgaris / drug therapy*
  • Administration, Oral
  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Area Under Curve
  • Biological Availability
  • Clinical Trials as Topic
  • Dermatologic Agents / administration & dosage
  • Dermatologic Agents / adverse effects
  • Dermatologic Agents / chemistry
  • Dermatologic Agents / pharmacokinetics*
  • Diet, High-Fat
  • Drug Compounding / methods*
  • Female
  • Food-Drug Interactions
  • Gastrointestinal Absorption
  • Humans
  • Isotretinoin / administration & dosage
  • Isotretinoin / adverse effects
  • Isotretinoin / chemistry
  • Isotretinoin / pharmacokinetics*
  • Male
  • Medication Adherence
  • Particle Size
  • Young Adult


  • Dermatologic Agents
  • Isotretinoin