You have many options when it comes to treating acne. Oral antibiotics, oral contraceptives and isotretinoin products are some of the most commonly prescribed medications used to treat acne, but they can also come with some pretty serious side effects.


According to the Mayo Clinic, side effects of oral antibiotics can include:

  • upset stomach
  • dizziness
  • increased skin sensitivity to sun

And some women who are already on birth control can also use a specific type side of oral contraceptives to treat acne. The side effects of combined oral contraceptives can include:

  • weight gain
  • breast tenderness
  • nausea
  • increased risk of blood clots

According to Health Canada, isotretinoin products, derived from vitamin A, like Accutane® or Clarus® can be prescribed by doctors for severe cases of acne.

Side effects of isotretinoin products can include:

  • miscarriages or fetal deformations in pregnant women
  • depression, suicide
  • increased risk of diabetes, liver disease or heart disease for those who have a family history of these diseases
  • sudden reduction in night vision
  • increased skin sensitivity to the sun

Anyone taking such a high risk medication has to make sure they don’t drive at night, breastfeed or get pregnant over the duration of the treatment. They also have to be closely monitored by their doctor to make sure they don’t develop any of the symptoms.

At the end of the day, the choice is yours, but it is important to know all the risks and not just the benefits of oral acne treatment options.