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Isotretinoin was not associated with depression or anxiety: A twelve-week study.

AIM: To investigate the frequency and severity of depression and/or anxiety in isotretinoin (ITT)-treated subjects and in a non-ITT control group.

METHODS: Sixty consecutively-admitted non-psychiatric outpatients with acne were assigned to either ITT at a fixed dose of 30 mg/d (n = 36) or "other treatment" group (OT; n = 24). The Zung depression or anxiety scales (with cut-off points), two locally developed scales for depression (GeDepr) and anxiety (Ansilet) (without cut-off points) and clinical global impression scales of acne severity were administered at baseline and at weeks 6 and 12 of treatment. Data was analyzed with the chi-squared test and covariance analysis.

RESULTS: Gender distribution, age, marital status and education level did not differ between both treatment groups. The frequency of depression, as defined by the Zung scale cut-off points was similar in the ITT and in the non-ITT groups: Weeks 6 and 12: 8.3% in both groups, P = 0.9. The frequency of anxiety was similar in the groups as well: Week 6: ITT = 8.3%; OT = 0.0%, P > 0.05; week 12: ITT = 11.1%, OT = 4.2%, P > 0.05. The scores in both scales' sets did not differ between the treatment groups at any evaluation time point (P > 0.05). Five ITT-treated subjects (13.8%) and two from the OT-treated group (8.3%) developed clinically significant anxiety and/or depression during treatment (P > 0.05).

CONCLUSION: Our study confirms the safety of ITT regarding psychological side effects in regular dermatological patients. Susceptible subjects may exist but their identification requires additional strategies.

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