Skin Disorders Case

A 17-year-old girl experiences a severe flare of acne.

Like Comment

A 17-year-old girl experiences a severe flare of acne. She has not responded to topical benzoyl peroxide wash and oral minocycline. You are concerned about scarring potential and decide to start her on isotretinoin. You counsel her on the side effects of isotretinoin.

Which of the following is NOT a side effect of isotretinoin? 

A. Depression.

B. Headache and blurred vision (pseudotumor cerebri).

C. Hyperpigmentation.

D. Photosensitivity.

E. Teratogenicity.

The correct answer is “C.” Patients on isotretinoin should be counseled regarding the side effects of teratogenicity (female patients only), mood changes (controversial association with dysthymia, depression, suicidal ideation), dry skin, hyperlipidemia, arthralgias and myalgias, blurred vision, tinnitus, photosensitivity, and pseudotumor cerebri (leading to headache and blurred vision). (You decide which is worse—the side effect profile of isotretinoin or having acne?)


Question & Explanation: Peterson AR, Wood KE. Pediatrics Examination and Board Review. New York, NY: McGraw-Hill Education; 2017.

Photo: Kline MW. Rudolph's Pediatrics, 23e; 2018.

Leah Carton

Associate Editor - Pediatrics, Dermatology, Geriatrics , McGraw Hill