Most of us are can relate to having had a pimple here and there throughout our lives, but those who deal with acne on a daily basis may actually be at higher risk for committing suicide according to new research. It has been concluded over and over again that having acne puts people at a higher risk for depression and while most of us would assume that this problem mainly affects teenagers; many adults still suffer from acne. Stress is being considered a major contributor, but people who are currently taking the medication Accutane (isotretinion), are at an even higher risk of committing suicide.
Statistics show that those who are suffering from severe acne are 93% more likely to have at least one suicide attempt within a six month period after beginning the medication Accutane. While these statistics may seem rather shocking, researchers from Stockholm’s Karolinska Institute believe that some of this may be due to how distraught some patients feel when their appearance and skin begins to drastically improve while their social life, which they thought would improve, does not. At the same time, it has been proven that the medication is not always effective with everyone.
While researching the link between the acne medication Accutane and suicide, researchers were able to conclude that the suicide risk rose in patients with acne the year before they were given the drug which proves that having severe acne itself increases one’s risk of committing suicide. The link between suicide and the medication is not as clear. Some patients could have simply been more vulnerable to the medication for some reason not yet known, and had their first suicide attempt during treatment as a possible consequence of being exposed to the drug Accutane.
It is the underlying condition of severe acne that is the most important factor to be noted for an increased suicide risk. According to Dr. Sundstrom, researchers are not 100 percent sure if the drug is actually adding to this issue. Australian experts on acne Parker Magin and John Sullivan, stated that the research being provided by Sweden is essential to take into consideration because of how complex the issue seems to be. It is extremely difficult to pinpoint the relation between a patient’s mental state and Accutane simply because the fact that they have acne alone serves as a major reason for psychiatric issues such as depression which then can lead to suicide.
Lecturer for the Department of Pharmacy and Pharmacology, Dr. Sarah Bailey stated that further and further research is revealing that acne itself can have serious psychological effects on the individual even though there are a low risk of suicide for certain acne patients. The correlation between Accutane and suicide risk is still rather controversial and researchers are able to acknowledge this fact. While we are still unsure as to whether or not Accutane increases the risk of suicide, it appears to be rather clear that it does not help at decreasing the risk of suicide among acne patients.
Woods, T. 2010. Ph.D. Acne Raises Suicidal Risk.