Impact of oral isotretinoin therapy on musculoskeletal system and physical activity in patients with acne

A study showing the vast majority of patients developed musculoskeletal side-effects during treatment with Accutane:

Drozd, Małgorzata, Jakub Czarnota, Michał Dobrzyński, Tomasz Skubel, Dorota Sokół, Iga Dudek, and Halina Piecewicz-Szczęsna. “Impact of Oral Isotretinoin Therapy on Musculoskeletal System and Physical Activity in Patients with Acne.” Journal of Education, Health and Sport 10, no. 8 (August 26, 2020): 372–82.

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Of note, the study mentions persistence of these adverse reactions beyond treatment:

Results: 86,7% of respondents reported at least one of the musculoskeletal symptoms. The most common were back pain (82,7%), fatigue and lethargy (70,4%), myalgia (55,1%) and arthalgia (32,1%). In 97,6% cases adverse effects were developed within the first 6 months of treatment. In 64,2% they persisted during the whole therapy, sometimes even beyond. Due to musculoskeletal side effects, in 2,4% cases dose reduction was necessary, 1,8% of respondents had to stop treatment and 48% had to limit or stop physical activity. 71,4% of repondents reported that lower back pain occurred or escalated during isotretinoin treatment.

Conclusions: Prevalence of reported musculoskeletal symptoms is very high and totals 86,7%. They result in prolonged limiting or stopping of physical activity in almost 50% of people. Although musculoskeletal symptoms are typically benign, possibility of severe disorders and potential permanent effects must be taken into consideration.