Are you currently taking Accutane or Isotretinoin for moderate to severe acne and wondering if you can drink alcohol while taking the medication? The short answer is no. Both alcohol and Accutane are processed through the liver, and drinking alcohol while taking Accutane can cause liver problems. Let’s take a closer look at Accutane and alcohol and all the side effects associated with the two.
Table of Contents
- What Is Accutane?
- Dangers of Taking Accutane and Drinking Alcohol
- Maintaining Liver Safety While Taking Accutane
- What Taking Accutane and Drinking Alcohol Does to the Liver
- Can I Drink Alcohol While Taking Accutane?
- What Are the Levels of Alcohol Consumption?
- What To Do if You Need To Clear Your Skin but Also Drink Alcohol
- Who Else Shouldn’t Drink Alcohol
- Getting Treatment for Alcohol Use Disorder and Heavy Drinking
What Is Accutane?
Accutane and its generic, Isotretinoin, are used to treat acne that is persistent and remains after other treatments have been tried. It’s derived from vitamin A and can clear skin within 4 to 12 months. Most people experience clear skin in 4 to 5 months, and like most medications, Accutane has side effects. Those side effects can include:
- Dry skin
- Increase in headaches
- Increased sun sensitivity
- Pain in the joints and muscles
- Birth defects
- Liver damage
Most people who take Accutane also use a skin moisturizer to control the dryness and itching, and they use sunscreen to protect their skin against the harmful rays of the sun. The more serious side effects are birth defects and liver damage, which means your doctor or dermatologist will prescribe the Acumen and then monitor the levels of it in your blood via blood tests.
Dangers of Taking Accutane and Drinking Alcohol
Taking Accutane and drinking alcohol can increase your risk of experiencing liver damage. Therefore, most people should exercise extreme moderation if they plan to go out to the bar or stay at home and consume an alcoholic beverage. If you like to binge drink or are a heavy drinker, it’s a good idea not to drink at all while taking Accutane or skip taking Accutane until you are detoxed and sober.
Maintaining Liver Safety While Taking Accutane
Taking Accutane can be very hard on the liver. Therefore, prior to starting Accutane, your doctor will take a family medical history, personal medical history and look at all the medications you are currently taking to manage your medical conditions to make sure they won’t interact with the Accutane. If you have a history of liver problems, a family history of liver problems or are taking other medications that are hard on the liver, your doctor may recommend that you do not drink at all while taking Accutane. In some instances, your medications or family history may make you a bad candidate for Accutane without some significant lifestyle adjustments, and some people may simply not be good candidates for Accutane treatment.
What Taking Accutane and Drinking Alcohol Does to the Liver
It’s important to understand that just taking Accutane can damage your liver, and when you combine alcohol with Accutane, you are increasing that risk. Just taking Accutane by itself has been known to increase the lipids in the blood, increase cholesterol levels and increase triglycerides. The good news is that these levels tend to go back to normal once your skin is clear and you’ve stopped taking the Accutane.
Can I Drink Alcohol While Taking Accutane?
Due to the issues that damage the liver, alcohol should not be consumed while taking Accutane. However, you can consult with your doctor to determine if there is an amount of alcohol you can consume while taking Accutane. Most warnings include a statement to the effect that the individual should exercise extreme alcohol consumption moderation while taking Accutane. Since that term doesn’t have a precise definition, you’ll need to determine your personal number of daily or weekly drinks with your doctor or dermatologist.
What Are the Levels of Alcohol Consumption?
In order to begin the process of understanding how much you might be able to drink while taking Accutane, you can look at the definitions for moderate, binge, and heavy drinking, as well as the definition of heavy alcohol use.
- Moderate Drinking – Consuming 2 or fewer drinks per day for men and one or fewer drinks per day for women.
- Binge Drinking – Consuming 5+ drinks within 2 hours for men and 4+ drinks in 2 hours for women
- Heavy Drinking – Consuming 4+ drinks per day or 14 drinks a week for men and consuming 3 drinks in a day or 7 drinks in a week.
- Heavy Alcohol Use – Heavy alcohol use is considered to be binge drinking 5+ days per month.
It probably goes without saying that if you are a bring drinker, heavy drinker or participate in heavy alcohol use; you should either not take Accutane or not drink while you’re using Accutane to clear your skin of acne.
What To Do if You Need To Clear Your Skin but Also Drink Alcohol
It’s important to note that Accutane is typically prescribed after other treatments have failed to clear the skin. If you haven’t tried any other treatments, it’s best to see your doctor and/or dermatologist to discuss your options. During your consultation, you’ll want to honestly tell them about your drinking, including when, how much and how often you drink. This will help your doctor recommend the right skin treatment for you.
Who Else Shouldn’t Drink Alcohol
When it comes to drinking, those who are on Accutane or other medications deemed unsafe to use with alcohol aren’t the only types of people who shouldn’t drink. In fact, you shouldn’t drink alcohol if:
- You are not yet 21 years of age
- You have a job or hobby that requires operating heavy machinery
- You have a medical condition that interacts with alcohol consumption
- You plan to drive
- You think you have alcohol use disorder or have been diagnosed with alcohol use disorder.
- You’re trying to get pregnant or may become pregnant
The truth of the matter is that as alcohol consumption is increasingly researched, the more dangerous we know it to be. In order to maintain your health and wellness and stop addiction before it starts, you may want to completely abstain from drinking, even if you’re 21 years old or older. If you do find yourself in a situation where you’re drinking too much and unable to control it, there is help available so that you can regain your sobriety.
Getting Treatment for Alcohol Use Disorder and Heavy Drinking
Taking Accutane to help clear your skin of stubborn acne isn’t the only reason you’d want to quit drinking. If your alcohol consumption interferes with your personal and professional lives, relationships, and health, it’s time to get help from a professional treatment center. Here at Long Island Treatment Center in Hicksville, NY, we can help you with our comprehensive alcohol treatment program. We offer medication-assisted treatment for detoxing and starting you on the path to your recovery. We also offer partial hospitalization (PHP), outpatient and intensive outpatient (IOP), dual diagnosis, and an aftercare program. We also have a special program for young adults.
If you have a family member dependent on alcohol or another substance, like heroin, cocaine, meth, opiates, or marijuana, our caring, compassionate, and knowledgeable staff can help. To get more information on treatment and start your recovery, give us a call today.