Acne is the most common skin disease. It can be devastating because, if left untreated, it leaves physical scars. And that's why the drug Accutane has been applauded for so long...because it is proven that a single course of therapy - in other words, a couple of pills a day for several months - can make acne disappear in the majority of patients.
Local pharmacist Tony Jones says he can see the difference in his customers who use the prescription Accutane. But now, the government is taking action to prevent some people from taking Accutane, since the drug carries a serious side effect...the risk of birth defects in women who take the drug while they are pregnant.
Starting Wednesday, a new program called 'I Pledge' requires patients taking Accutane, or a generic version of the drug, to sign a consent form and be counseled on the potential side effects. The I Pledge program will also require women, and even young girls, to take a pregnancy test every month to show that they are not pregnant. And it requires patients, doctors, pharmacists and drug wholesalers to register with the drug makers.
Again, the I Pledge program goes into effect tomorrow.