The Effects of Isotretinoin on The Menstrual Cycle: A Cross-Sectional Study

Clin Pract. 2022 Nov 10;12(6):908-917. doi: 10.3390/clinpract12060095.


Menstrual irregularities during isotretinoin therapy, including amenorrhea, can cause a great deal of health-status uncertainty such as the possibility of pregnancy. This study aimed to evaluate the effects of isotretinoin treatment on the menstrual cycle. This cross-sectional study was conducted among females aged between 15−45 years taking isotretinoin for acne. Descriptive statistics were used in the form of frequencies and percentages to represent categorical variables. Pearson’s chi-squared test was performed to assess the relationship between some of the variables with menstrual irregularities. A logistic regression model was performed to assess the risk factors for developing menstrual irregularities during isotretinoin therapy. Of participants with a known regular menstrual cycle, 10.4% were found to have irregularity in their cycle after starting the drug (p < 0.001). Amenorrhea was the most commonly reported menstrual irregularity in isotretinoin-treated females. Our results showed that single females, those who took isotretinoin for 10−12 months and who were concurrently taking hormonal contraceptives all have a statistically significant higher risk of developing menstrual irregularities than others. In conclusion, we found that a statistically significant number of participants with a regular menstrual cycle pre-isotretinoin intake developed irregularity in their cycle after starting the drug. The mechanism of how isotretinoin influences female hormonal imbalances, thereby affecting menstrual irregularities is still poorly understood and needs to be clarified in further clinical studies.

Keywords: amenorrhea; isotretinoin; menstrual cycle; menstruation; reproductive health.

Grants and funding

This research received no external funding.