Wednesday, October 12, 2011

NZ teens take controversial acne medicine

NZ teens take controversial acne medicine;

                           Teenage girls are turning to a "magic" drug which fights acne – even when they don't need it.
New Plymouth Dermatologist Dr Jaswan Singh said he was treating a large number of teenage girls who have "perfect" skin with the acne drug isotretinoin, and was concerned they were victims of peer pressure.
"Their body image is so bad, they have a few pimples on their face and come and see me when they don't need to," Dr Singh said.
The drug he prescribes has previously been known in New Zealand by the generic brand name Roaccutane and has been the subject of controversy because of its links to depression.
Dr Singh said he was comfortable prescribing the drug, but he believed children and teenagers pressured parents to request it.
"It's like magic. It's the only thing that works," he said. Females aged 12 to 16 were the "most vulnerable" patients, and overall he wrote about 14 prescriptions a week for the drug, he said.
"They want it because of peer pressure; their friend's skin looks good and they want to look the same," he said.
A naturally occurring vitamin A compound present in small quantities in most skin cells.
Available in New Zealand since 1982, but originally developed to treat cancer.
Prescribed under the generic brand name Roaccutane and Oratane.
Isotretinoin markedly reduces sebum production and shrinks the sebaceous glands.
Due to its potential to cause birth defects and personal injury lawsuits, it's now highly regulated in the United States and difficult to get hold of.
It can cause cracking of the skin of the lips, nose bleeds, dry eyes, severe sunburn, acne flare-ups and some studies have linked it to depression and suicidal thinking.
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