Isotrexin is indicated for the topical treatment of moderate acne.

What is Isotrexin gel used for?

  • Moderate acne.

How does Isotrexin gel work?

  • Isotrexin gel contains two active ingredients, isotretinoin, which is a form of vitamin A and erythromycin, which is an antibiotic.
  • When applied to the skin isotretinoin is thought to loosen the cells in the surface of the skin. This helps to unblock pores, so that the skins natural oil producing glands can function normally. Isotretinoin also increases the turnover of the skin cells, which aids the natural exfoliation of the outer layers of skin. This also helps to unblock pores and decrease the formation of blackheads (comedones) and spots.
  • Isotretinoin also helps reduce inflammation in the skin.
  • Erythromycin works by attacking the bacteria associated with acne, Propionibacterium acnes. This is a common type of bacteria that feeds on sebum (oil) produced by the sebaceous glands in the skin.
It produces waste products and fatty acids that irritate the sebaceous glands, making them inflamed and causing spots. By controlling bacterial numbers, erythromycin brings the inflammation of the sebaceous glands under control, and allows the skin to heal.
  • It may take six to eight weeks of treatment with Isotrexin before definite beneficial effects on the skin can be seen. Ideally it shouldn't be used for more than 12 weeks at a time because this increases the likelihood of the bacteria becoming resistant to the antibiotic. If your acne appears to be getting worse at any point you should see your doctor.
  • How do I use Isotrexin gel?

    • Wash and dry the skin before applying the gel.
    • Isotrexin should be applied thinly over the affected area(s) of skin once or twice a day, as directed by your doctor.
    • Take care to avoid getting the gel in the eyes, mouth or nose and make sure the gel doesn't build up in skin creases or the sides of the nose.
    • Wash your hands after applying the gel.
    • Don't apply the gel to broken areas of skin or areas affected by eczema.
    • If your skin is sunburnt don't apply Isotrexin until your skin is fully recovered, as it may potentially cause severe irritation to the skin.
    • Don't use Isotrexin any more frequently than directed by your doctor, as this won't make it any more effective or work any quicker. It may also make your skin very red or irritated or start peeling.

    What should I know before using Isotrexin gel?

    • Isotrexin gel is flammable. Don't use it near any naked flame or heat source, or while smoking.
    • When you first start using Isotrexin it may cause temporary stinging or a feeling of warmth in the skin. When used correctly, it will usually make your skin slightly red, like mild sunburn, but this will settle with time.
    • If you get any severe redness, swelling, itching, burning sensations, blistering, crusting or peeling of your skin after using Isotrexin, you should apply it less frequently or stop using it temporarily. If the irritation persists you should stop using Isotrexin completely and consult your doctor.
    • Isotrexin gel may increase the sensitivity of your skin to UV light. Protect the treated skin from sunlight with sunscreen or clothing while using it, even on a bright but cloudy day. Do not use sunbeds or sunlamps.
    • Isotrexin gel should be used with caution in
    • People with eczema or rosacea (avoid getting the gel on areas of skin affected by eczema or rosacea).
    • People with a personal or family history of skin cancer.
    • Sensitive areas of skin such as the neck.
    • People with a history of bowel inflammation (colitis), particularly if associated with antibiotic use.

    Who shouldn't use Isotrexin gel?

    • Children under 12 years of age.
    • Women who are pregnant or breastfeeding.
    • People who are allergic to any of its ingredients. Check the ingredients listed in the leaflet that comes with the gel if you know you have specific allergies or intolerances.

    What are the possible side effects of Isotrexin gel?

    Medicines and their possible side effects can affect individual people in different ways. The following are some of the side effects known to be associated with Isotrexin gel. Just because a side effect is stated here doesn't mean that all people using Isotrexin will experience that or any side effect.

    • Skin irritation at the application site, eg stinging, burning, redness, tenderness, dryness, itching or peeling.
    • Increased sensitivity of the skin to sunlight.
    • Changes in skin pigmentation.
    • Abdominal pain or diarrhoea. Stop using Isotrexin gel and see your doctor if you get severe or prolonged diarrhoea.

    Negligible amounts of isotretinoin are absorbed into the bloodstream when it's applied to the skin, so it's not associated with the same side effects as isotretinoin capsules.

    Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist if you want any more information about the possible side effects of Isotrexin gel.

    Can I use other medicines with Isotrexin gel?

    • Make sure your doctor or pharmacist what medicines you're already using, including those bought without a prescription and herbal medicines, before you start using Isotrexin. Similarly, check with your doctor or pharmacist before using any new medicines with Isotrexin, to make sure that the combination is safe.

    Don't use acne products that contain benzoyl peroxide at the same time of day as Isotrexin because they could make it less effective. If you need to use a benzoyl peroxide product, use it at a different time of day to Isotrexin.

    Your skin is more likely to get irritated or dry if you use other skin products alongside Isotrexin, for example medicated cosmetics, soaps, cleansers, toiletries or other anti-acne products, particularly those containing high concentrations of alcohol, astringents or peeling agents. If your skin gets particularly dry or irritated with combined use, then stop using the other products temporarily or use them less often.