Absorica: New Pill for Acne Hits the Market

Dr. Sharon Orrange
Dr. Orrange is an Associate Professor of Clinical Medicine in the Division of Geriatric, Hospitalist and General Internal Medicine at the Keck School of Medicine of USC.
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Better than Accutane? Yes, a new pill will be hitting the market that works better for acne than Accutane. Absorica (isotretinoin) is a retinoid capsule that dermatologists in the U.S. think will be a game changer in terms of improving acne and preventing relapse.

Why are dermatologists and primary care doctors excited? Absorica is more effective and easier to take than any currently available treatments. It will be available by the end of 2013 for the treatment of severe nodular acne.

How is it different from Accutane? Absorica is more effective because it has better absorption. Absorption is the key difference between how Absorica works and how other isotretinoins, like Accutane, work.

Why is absorption of isotretinoin tablets so poor? Isotretinoin is a highly lipophilic (likes fat) molecule so patients don’t get the maximum benefit of the drug unless they take it with a high-fat meal. This means patients taking Accutane should have been taking it with 50 grams of fat: two fried eggs in butter, two strips of bacon, two slices of toast with butter, 4 ounces of hash brown potatoes, and 8 ounces of whole milk. Ewwww. Then, since Accutane is taken twice daily, patients should also eat another high-fat meal at dinnertime. Since that’s not happening, absorption of Accutane isn’t great.

With the traditional form of isotretinoin (Accutane), only about 40% of the drug was absorbed when patients were fasting. With Absorica nearly 70% is absorbed.

Better absorption means increased chance for success and lower risk of relapse.

Important note: Like all isotretinoins, Absorica patients and prescribers are obligated to participate in the iPLEDGE risk management program. As you all know, this is the way to prevent pregnancy in our girls taking any of these meds, either Accutane or Absorica.

Dr. O.

Absorica was approved by the FDA in May of 2012, and was projected to be available in the fourth quarter of 2012.

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