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'Acne cure may raise suicide risk'

THE STORY An acne drug prescribed to thousands of people could cause severe depression and even lead to suicidal thoughts, reports the Daily Telegraph.

THE STORY An acne drug prescribed to thousands of people could cause severe depression and even lead to suicidal thoughts, reports the Daily Telegraph.

THE SOURCE Researchers at the University of Bath found that Roaccutane could disrupt the way that serotonin carries signals from one part of the brain to another in rats, possibly by interfering with how serotonin is produced or made available to cells.

Low levels of serotonin are linked to depression, bipolar and anxiety disorders. The researchers also showed that mice given Roaccutane's active ingredient retinoic acid, which is derived from vitamin A, exhibited depressive behaviour, such as trying to escape less frequently.

EXPERT VIEW A spokeswoman for the British Association of Dermatologists said Roaccutane (isotretinoin) was prescribed only by specialists: "Isotretinoin is only prescribed to those sufferers with severe acne which have not responded to oral antibiotics and there are strict indications for its use.

Severe disease, including that of the skin, can significantly affect the quality of life of the patient. Many millions of people all over the world, both young and older, have been treated successfully with isotretinoin."

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