Dispensing oral isotretinoin and pregnancy prevention

Quick reference guide 

This guidance is aimed at pharmacists. It covers dispensing, distribution control and counselling advice to protect all patients who use oral isotretinoin and females who are at risk of pregnancy.

It does not cover the full list of contra-indications or full details of the isotretinoin Pregnancy Prevention Programme (further details can be found in the Summary of Product Characteristics).

Isotretinoin is a retinoid and when used orally to treat severe acne it has an extremely high risk of causing severe and serious malformation of a foetus and also increases the risk of spontaneous abortion.

Pharmacists are involved in the dispensing of isotretinoin and in ensuring it is not used by women who might be pregnant or are considering becoming pregnant. A Pregnancy Prevention Programme protects females at risk of pregnancy and pharmacists have a significant role in distribution control and in providing counselling to the patient.

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