A study on the relationship between acne, acne drug isotretinoin (Accutane) and the risk of suicide, showed that severe acne alone fuels the risk of suicide attempts, and not because the drug enhances psychiatric problems.
Researchers said that people with the severe skin condition may be at an increased risk for depression and despair especially when treatments have failed leading to suicide behavior.
A 10-year study published in BMJ Online First showed that there were 128 suicide attempts among 5,756 acne patients.
Data from Sweden's Karolinska Institute revealed that suicide attempts started between one and three years before undergoing isotretinoin treament. The risk of suicide was at its peak within six months after treatment.
A few high profile Accutane-related deaths had been in the news such as a Florida teen who flew a small plane into a Tampa skyscraper leading to his death in 2002, and the death of the 17-year-old son of a Michigan representative in 1999.
In both cases, defendant Hoffmann-La Roche won the case when the relationship between suicide and drug was linked unsuccessfully.
The researchers highlight the importance of psychological monitoring of teens with severe acne conditions due to the negative mental health behaviors that it may bring.
In June, Accutane was withdrawn from the market due to increased competition from the generic form of the drug.