HealthDay News — Acne patients prescribed isotretinoin are less likely to engage in suicidal behavior than the general US population, according to a study published in the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology.

Nkemjika Ugonabo, MD, from New York University in New York City, and colleagues used the IBM MarketScan Research Databases to identify acne patients who were prescribed isotretinoin or oral antibiotics between 2011 and 2017. Rates of subsequent psychiatric disorder diagnoses or suicidal behavior were assessed. The analysis included 72,555 patients.

The researchers found that patients in the general population were more likely to be diagnosed with suicidal ideation or attempt compared with acne patients prescribed isotretinoin (adjusted odds ratio, 1.47). Compared with acne patients prescribed isotretinoin, the general population (adjusted odds ratio, 0.87) and acne patients prescribed antibiotics (adjusted odds ratio, 0.88) were less likely to have a psychiatric diagnosis. During isotretinoin treatment, the prevalence of suicidal behavior was lower (0.10%) than in the year prior to isotretinoin treatment (0.22%) and in the year after treatment (0.34%).

“This study found no evidence of increased suicidal ideation or of suicide attempts in patients treated with isotretinoin compared to those treated with antibiotics only or those in the general population,” the authors write.


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One author disclosed serving as a board member of Almirall and as an advisor to Unilever.

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