Does Joint Pain From Accutane Go Away? Understanding and Managing Accutane Side Effects

does joint pain from accutane go away


Experiencing joint pain from your Accutane acne treatment? Usually, this discomfort eases after the treatment ends. But, in some cases, it may persist. Checking with your doctor is the first and most important step to help you manage any ongoing pain. There are also natural methods you can try to combat chronic joint pain, such as modifying your diet or trying turmeric. Your health journey is unique, and professional guidance is key.


Embarking on any treatment journey requires a blend of hope, courage, and understanding, especially when it comes to medications like Accutane. This powerful drug has proven effective for many who grapple with severe acne, but it’s essential to navigate this path with a thorough comprehension of the potential side effects. One question that often arises is: does joint pain from Accutane go away? This article will delve into this question, aiming to provide you with insights to make your Accutane journey smoother and more informed.

Understanding Accutane

To fully grasp the relationship between Accutane and joint pain, we first need to understand what Accutane is and how it functions. Accutane, also known as isotretinoin, is a potent medication typically prescribed for severe or persistent nodular acne. This type of acne is characterized by large, painful lumps beneath the skin’s surface, which can lead to permanent scarring.

How does Accutane work, you ask? It reduces the size of the skin’s oil glands by approximately 35-58% and significantly reduces the amount of oil these glands produce. [2] By lowering oil production, Accutane helps prevent the hardening of skin sebum, reducing the formation of acne.

Accutane is usually prescribed to individuals who have not seen improvements from other acne treatments, including antibiotics. However, due to its potential side effects, it’s typically considered a last-resort option. If you’re an Accutane user or considering becoming one, it’s crucial to remember that everyone’s experience with the medication can differ – so while it can bring about remarkable improvements, it’s important to stay informed and prepared for its potential side effects, including joint pain.

Side Effects of Accutane

With its powerful acne-fighting potential, Accutane may bring along some unwanted company in the form of side effects. The most common of these are relatively mild, including dry skin, lips, and eyes, itching, nosebleeds, and heightened sensitivity to the sun. While these can be bothersome, they’re typically manageable with appropriate self-care and over-the-counter remedies.

However, some less common but more serious side effects have also been reported. These include vision problems, severe stomach pain, headaches, dizziness, and yes, joint pain. It’s crucial to keep in mind that these less common side effects are not experienced by everyone, and if they do occur, they should be reported to a healthcare provider immediately.

Joint Pain and Accutane

Now, let’s address the elephant in the room – why does Accutane cause joint pain and does this pain go away? Accutane’s mechanism of reducing oil production in the body doesn’t affect only the skin. It can also impact other areas, including the joints. The decreased oil production can potentially reduce the lubrication within joints, leading to stiffness and discomfort, particularly during physical activity.

The prevalence of joint pain among Accutane users varies, with some studies suggesting that around 16% of users report these symptoms. [1] It’s important to note that joint pain often depends on the dosage, with higher doses more likely to lead to this side effect.

Now to answer the key question: does the joint pain from Accutane go away? For most users, joint pain typically subsides after the treatment is complete. However, some users have reported persistent joint pain even after stopping the medication. It’s crucial to remember that everyone’s body responds differently to medication. As such, the onset, intensity, and duration of side effects can vary significantly between individuals.

joint pain from accutane

Managing Joint Pain from Accutane

Accutane-associated joint pain can be managed through a variety of strategies.

Medical interventions include modifying the Accutane dosage under the supervision of a healthcare provider. Since higher dosages are often linked to increased side effects, a dosage reduction may alleviate the discomfort. However, it’s vital not to adjust your dosage without first consulting with your healthcare provider.

In addition to medical interventions, various home remedies can also help manage joint pain. Regular low-impact exercises such as swimming or cycling can keep joints flexible without adding undue stress. Adequate hydration, a balanced diet rich in omega-3 fatty acids, and sufficient rest can also contribute to joint health.

Remember, if your joint pain is severe, persistent, or worsening, it’s crucial to seek medical help. Prompt communication with your healthcare provider ensures that any potential issues can be detected and addressed early, optimizing your health and safety during Accutane treatment.

Related: Does Joint Pain Always Mean Arthritis?

Life After Accutane

For many, life after Accutane means embracing clear skin and renewed confidence. However, it’s important to remain vigilant about potential post-treatment symptoms.

Most side effects of Accutane, including joint pain, typically diminish after the treatment ends. However, as mentioned, some users have reported lingering joint pain. [3] The reasons for this can vary and may not necessarily be directly linked to Accutane. Aging, physical activity level, and other health factors can contribute to joint pain.

Regular follow-ups with healthcare providers are crucial to monitor any lasting effects and to ensure your health and safety.


Whether you’re considering Accutane, currently taking it, or have completed your course, understanding the potential side effects is crucial. When it comes to joint pain associated with Accutane, the primary takeaway is that most people find relief after the treatment ends. However, some may experience persistent discomfort. As with all medications, individual experiences can vary widely, and open, honest communication with your healthcare provider is key to navigating these nuances.

Throughout your Accutane journey, remember that you’re not alone. Reach out for support when you need it, whether it’s from healthcare professionals, friends, family, or online communities. After all, every journey is easier when shared with others.


  1. Matsuoka LY, Wortsman J, Pepper JJ. Acute Arthritis During Isotretinoin Treatment for Acne. Arch Intern Med. 1984;144(9):1870–1871. doi:10.1001/archinte.1984.00350210200037
  3. Aydog E, Ozturk G, Comert A, Tasdelen N, Akin O, Kulcu DG. Sacroiliitis during isotretinoin treatment: Causal association or coincidence? North Clin Istanb. 2018 Aug 7;6(1):75-80. doi: 10.14744/nci.2018.93798. PMID: 31180372; PMCID: PMC6526982.

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