Accutane: Can It Affect Male Fertility?

I'm a 29-year-old male, taking Accutane for acne. My wife and I plan to start trying to conceive. Is there any clinical evidence that Accutane may damage sperm and/or increase the possibility of birth defects.


Peg Plumbo CNM

Peg Plumbo has been a certified nurse-midwife (CNM) since 1976. She has assisted at over 1,000 births and currently teaches in the... Read more

I did a Medline search and could find no reference to any correlation between use of Accutane and male sperm production, defects or genetic damage.

Below is a review of the side effects of this drug. I hope this helps.

Goulden V. Layton AM. Cunliffe WJ.
Long-term safety of isotretinoin as a treatment for acne vulgaris.
"British Journal of Dermatology." 131(3):360-3, 1994 Sep.
We assessed possible long-term side-effects of isotretinoin therapy in 720 patients who had received one or more courses of treatment, and had a mean follow-up period of 4.9 years (range 2-12 years). Most patients (442) had received a total cumulative dose of 120-200 mg/kg body weight. One hundred and sixty-two patients received a cumulative dose of < 120 mg/kg body weight, and 116 received a cumulative dose > 200 mg/kg. Fifty-two patients (7.2 percent) reported persistent symptoms during the follow-up period. No correlation was found between age, sex, cumulative dose or number of courses of isotretinoin and occurrence of reported possible side-effects. The reported symptoms were predominantly musculoskeletal (2 percent) or mucocutaneous (4.8 percent), and were mild in all cases. Xeroderma, dry eye syndrome, arthralgia, and possible exacerbation of eczema, were considered to be infrequent but probable long-term side-effects. The findings of this study indicate that isotretinoin in the treatment of acne is a safe drug, with no serious long-term side-effects.
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