Isotrexin gel contains two active ingredients, isotretinoin, which is a form of vitamin A and erythromycin, which is an antibiotic. The combination is applied to the skin to treat acne.
It is not known exactly how isotretinoin works, but it 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 (sebaceous glands) can function normally.
In addition, isotretinoin 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 decreases the formation of blackheads (comedones) and spots.
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.
Erythromycin prevents these bacteria from producing proteins that are essential to them. Without these proteins the bacteria cannot grow, replicate and increase in numbers. Erythromycin doesnt directly kill the bacteria, but leaves them unable to increase in numbers. The remaining bacteria eventually die or are destroyed by the immune system.
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 before definite beneficial effects on the skin can be seen.
This medicine should not be used if you are allergic to one or any of its ingredients. Please inform your doctor or pharmacist if you have previously experienced such an allergy.If you feel you have experienced an allergic reaction, stop using this medicine and inform your doctor or pharmacist immediately.
Certain medicines should not be used during pregnancy or breastfeeding. However, other medicines may be safely used in pregnancy or breastfeeding providing the benefits to the mother outweigh the risks to the unborn baby. Always inform your doctor if you are pregnant or planning a pregnancy, before using any medicine.
Medicines and their possible side effects can affect individual people in different ways. The following are some of the side effects that are known to be associated with this medicine. Just because a side effect is stated here does not mean that all people using this medicine will experience that or any side effect.
The side effects listed above may not include all of the side effects reported by the drug's manufacturer.For more information about any other possible risks associated with this medicine, please read the information provided with the medicine or consult your doctor or pharmacist.
Check with your pharmacist or doctor before using other medicines (including those bought without a prescription) on your skin while you are using this one.
The following should be used with caution while you are using Isotrexin gel, as they may increase the likelihood of drying or irritating your skin:
After using products that cause skin peeling, such as benzoyl peroxide, sulphur, azelaic acid or salicylic acid, you should let the skin rest until the effects of the peeling agent subside, before you start using Isotrexin gel. If you alternate peeling treatments with Isotrexin gel this may cause inflammation of the skin (contact dermatitis).
Ask your pharmacist for further advice.
There are currently no other medicines available in the UK that contain both isotretinoin and erythromycin.
Isotrex gel and Roaccutane capsules contain just isotretinoin.
Eryacne gel, Stiemycin solution and Erythroped tablets and suspension contain just erythromycin.