Cystic acne treatment can be difficult to obtain in the UK with GP’s often prescribing antibiotics or topical solutions. These may work to treat mild acne but aren’t so effective in treating severe, nodular acne.

Isotretinoin for acne (Roaccutane) treatment is an effective solution but can be a frustratingly slow process to get prescribed on the NHS. This is due to the need for a dermatologist referral and blood tests prior to being prescribed Accutane, which can take months.


Isotretinoin For Acne – What is Accutane?

Isotretinoin (Roaccutane) is an oral retinoid used to treat severe and chronic forms of acne in adults and young people over 12 years of age. This retinoid is derived from Vitamin A and occurs in small quantities naturally in the body. This acne treatment is very effective in preventing further scarring. As an adult acne treatment, Roaccutane (Accutane) has been effectively used for over 30 years.

Isotretinoin is often still referred to by its former brand name Accutane or Roaccutane.


Is Isotretinoin Acne Treatment (Roaccutane) available in the UK on the NHS?

Yes – however the typical wait for an NHS appointment is 6 months. Why let your acne continue to spoil your life when there are safe, fast and effective cures available in the UK for Accutane accessible via a private prescription from Linia Skin clinic.


How Does Accutane Work?

Accutane works in a number of different ways to treat severe acne. It dramatically reduces the size of the skin’s oil glands (35%-58%) and even more significantly decreases the amount of oil these glands produce by around 80% according to some studies.

Acne bacteria (P. acnes) is also largely reduced. This bacteria lives in skin oil and as the amount of oil that your sebum glands produce is decreased, so are the levels of acne bacteria in your skin.

Isotretinoin is also thought to slow down the speed at which the skin produces skin cells within your pores. This also ensures that your pores do not become clogged in the first place which can cause severe acne. The final way in which Roaccutane works is by decreasing inflammation underneath the skin.


What Are the Benefits of Isotretinoin Acne Treatment?

  • When under the professional supervision of an appropriate prescriber, Accutane is perhaps the fastest, most effective and longest lasting treatments available today for adult onset acne
  • While the makers of Roaccutane (Accutane) do not claim it to be a cure, many patients are effectively cured in the long term or enjoy several years of clear, spot-free skin


What is Involved in Acne Treatment With Roaccutane?

Oral Isotretinoin or Accutane can only be prescribed in the UK by a Dermatologist as it is a specialist medication. There is a broad range of acne medications available and the Dermatologist will firstly assess if Isotretinoin (Roaccutane) is the most suitable treatment for you.

It is not suitable for female patients who are pregnant or trying to conceive, or in cases where patients have a history or a susceptibility to depression.

This is why it is critically important to undertake a course of Roaccutane (Accutane) only under the professional supervision of an experienced Dermatologist.

Treatment includes the following

  • Your initial consultation and assessment with our experienced prescriber
  • Regular prescriptions for Roaccutane (Accutane) that can be filled at any pharmacy
  • (For men) Assessments every 6- weeks are required with your dermatologist during the 5-8 month treatment course
  • (For women) Assessment every 4 weeks are required with your dermatologist during the 5-8 month treatment course, including a monthly pregnancy test

It is not uncommon for patients to experience an increase in acne when starting treatment, and at each point, that dosage is increased.


How long does Accutane take to work?

Isotretinoin for acne treatment generally takes around 4-8 months to complete. How long it takes to start seeing an improvement in severe acne is dependent on a few factors such as the severity of the acne to begin with, genetics, and lifestyle among other things. Some individuals may start seeing changes in the second month while others may experience slower changes.


isotretinoin for acne treatment accutane


What are the risks or potential side effects of an Isotretinoin Acne Treatment?

Side effects of Accutane can include:

  • Dryness and cracking of the skin and lips
  • Headaches
  • Joint and muscle pain, back pain
  • Dry irritated eyes, inflammation of eyelids
  • Skin rash, mild itching
  • Dry mouth
  • Dry nose, potential nosebleeds
  • Raised cholesterol
  • Raised Liver function

As well as avoiding excess sun exposure, patients should also minimize alcohol consumption.

Further information on risks and side-effects can be found below

Accutane UK sources:


British Journal of Dermatology

Gov.UK Isotretinoin for severe acne: uses and effects


What aftercare is required for Isotretinoin Acne Treatment?

While being treated it is important that patients:

  • Avoid wax epilation, dermabrasion, and laser skin treatment during treatment and for 6 months after treatment.
  • Minimise excess sun exposure and use high SPF factor broad-spectrum sunblock when in the sun
  • Use plenty of moisturiser, particularly on the lips (we recommend Vaseline petroleum jelly)
  • For female patients, avoid becoming pregnant

Some patients may need to repeat treatment with Isotretinoin (Roaccutane) in the future.

Acne scars will tend to fade over a period of six months once treatment has finished. Laser procedures may be suitable at that point for further improvement of the skin.


What is the cost of an Accutane or Isotretinoin Acne Treatment?

Patients will need to be seen for an initial consultation and then typically for up to 5-7 further consultations. Fee for each consultation is £150 and 6-8 consultations may be required. Blood tests are required prior to treatment and then during treatment and we can organise those tests at a charge (around £70-£100 per test), or your NHS GP may be able to perform those tests for you (that is at the discretion of your GP and their trust). Medication costs around £40-60 per month supply of 20mg tablets depending on which pharmacy you use and the typical dosage ranges from 40mg/month through to 80mg/month.

So total treatment cost including consultations, blood tests, and medication would be expected to cost around £1,250 – £2,000 for the complete course.

From £1,200 for men

Isotretinoin Male – information leaflet

 From £1,600 for women

Isotretinoin female – information leaflet


Cost of Roaccutane (Accutane)?

The treatment price does NOT include the cost of isotretinoin/Accutane, which must be purchased from a pharmacy via prescription. The dosage prescribed to you will depend partially on your body weight. A rough guide as to the cost (as at September 2008) of Roaccutane based on body weight is approximately £36 per stone of body weight over the course of treatment. For example, a 10 stone client would, therefore, expect to pay £360 over the course of 5 – 7 months to the pharmacy for the Roaccutane medication.

Book your consultation to discuss whether isotretinoin is a suitable option and how acne treatment with Accutane based in the UK (London) can help you HERE