Acne drug associated with abnormal lipids, liver enzymes

NEWS IN BRIEF — Posted Sept. 18, 2006

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Patients taking isotretinoin are more likely to have elevated cholesterol and liver enzymes than previously thought, according to a study in the August Archives of Dermatology.

Researchers at the University of California, San Francisco, analyzed medical records for patients enrolled in a comprehensive managed care plan who were taking this drug. Of those who had normal lab values before taking it, 44% developed elevated triglyceride levels. Thirty-one percent experienced increases in their total cholesterol and, for 11% of patients, the transaminase level went up.

The package insert notes this drug may cause about 25% of patients to have elevated triglycerides and 15% to have increases in liver enzymes.

The authors concluded that the rates of some abnormal lab values were greater than noted in previous studies but also pointed out that the clinical significance of these changes was still unknown. Most levels return to normal after treatment ends.

Note: This item originally appeared at

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