A study done by Douglas Bremmer indicates the manner in which Accutane no might lead to depression. "This was the first study that shows a biological link of physical evidence," said Douglas Bremner of Emory University. With this high-tech camera, Bremner, a psychiatrist, looked at the brains of 13 young adults taking Accutane for acne -- and another 15 on antibiotics. In the so-called "accutane brain" -- activity in the front part of the brain was down 21 percent. Bremner said, "This plays a critical role in emotion. So if there's a decrease in function in that part of the brain, it makes sense that there would be a change in mood."
Accutane and generic versions already carry an imposing warning: aside from cautions about birth defects there's this: "Accutane may cause depression, psychosis and rarely, suicidal ideation, suicide attempts, suicide and aggressive behavior." But that warning only started in 2002 -- four years after the Food and Drug Administration warned physicians that the drug might have psychiatric side effects. There are several lawsuits pending, including one by the family of 15-year-old acne patient Charles Bishop, who killed himself flying a small plane into a Tampa office tower two years ago.
Of course, teens are more prone to clinical depression. And experts say the rate, as measured by suicide, and the numbers of teens seeking treatment, is rising. A spokeswoman for Roche, the company that makes Accutane, said she doesn't know enough to comment on the new study, but said that Roche has never found a link between its drug, and suicide.
Earlier this year, an FDA advisory panel recommended creating a formal registry of all patients on the drug to make it easier to keep track of side effects. But the agency has taken no action. A spokeswoman told CNN they're still deciding what to do. Roche said it's open to a registry, but that could take a long time.