Accutane to Be Reviewed in UK After Series of Suicides


A recent spate of suicides among users of the acne drug has prompted the UK to put together a governmental review of its risks and benefits to establish whether it should be taken off the market.

Government scientists will collect data on RoAccutane (known in the US as Accutane) and then a group at the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency will meet to weigh its risks and benefits. The drug has been linked to psychopathology for years and suicide, suicide ideation and suicide attempt are listed among the drug’s “very rare” side effects.

However, a number of people taking RoAccutane in the UK have recently committed suicide—at least three in 2012 alone—and their families have protested outside the headquarters of Roche, the drug’s manufacturer.

Accutane was taken off the market in the US in 2009. Roche said that it was due to a low market share and the high cost of defending personal injury lawsuits brought on by people who had taken the drug. Generic forms of the drug Isotretinoin are still available in the US.

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