Effects of isotretinoin on serum lipids and lipoproteins, liver and thyroid function

Clin Chim Acta. 1984 Nov 30;143(3):243-51. doi: 10.1016/0009-8981(84)90074-3.


Seven patients with severe rosacea were treated with 1 mg/kg per day isotretinoin for 12 wk. There were significant increases in serum triglyceride (p less than 0.001) and cholesterol (p less than 0.001). Triglyceride associated with very low density lipoprotein (VLDL), low density lipoprotein (LDL) and high density lipoprotein (HDL) increased (p less than 0.01), cholesterol in VLDL and LDL increased (p less than 0.01), and levels of HDL cholesterol decreased (p less than 0.01). There were changes in indices of liver function, with increased levels of gamma-glutamyltransferase (GGT) (p less than 0.01), alkaline phosphatase (ALP) (p less than 0.01) and aspartate aminotransferase (AST) (p less than 0.01), and decreased bilirubin levels (p less than 0.05). Although levels of thyroxine and triiodothyronine were lower after treatment (p less than 0.05), there were no changes in basal levels of thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH), luteinizing hormone (LH) or follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH), and responses to thyrotrophin releasing hormone (TRH) and luteinizing hormone releasing hormone (LHRH) were unchanged. These changes may partially be explained by induction of hepatic microsomal enzymes by isotretinoin.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Cholesterol / blood
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Isotretinoin
  • Lipids / blood*
  • Lipoproteins / blood*
  • Liver / enzymology
  • Liver Function Tests
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Rosacea / drug therapy
  • Thyroid Function Tests
  • Thyroid Hormones / blood*
  • Tretinoin / adverse effects*
  • Triglycerides / blood


  • Lipids
  • Lipoproteins
  • Thyroid Hormones
  • Triglycerides
  • Tretinoin
  • Cholesterol
  • Isotretinoin