Clinical Edge

Summaries of Must-Read Clinical Literature, Guidelines, and FDA Actions

Frequent Lab Testing is Common, but Low-Yield, for Isotretinoin Patients

Key clinical point: Abnormalities in lipids, liver enzymes, and blood counts were rare, and serious abnormalities virtually nonexistent among individuals taking isotretinoin for moderate to severe acne who received laboratory testing.

Major finding: In a review of 1,863 patients receiving isotretinoin, there were no cases of grade 4 abnormalities of lipids, liver enzymes, or complete blood count. Further, fewer than 1% of patients had grade 2-3 laboratory abnormalities, and no patients had cholesterol or complete blood count abnormalities of grade 3 or higher.

Study details: A retrospective cohort study of 1,863 patients receiving isotretinoin.

Disclosures: The study was funded in part by the National Institutes of Health, and Dr. Barbieri receives partial salary support from Pfizer through a grant to the University of Pennsylvania. He has received support for unrelated work from Eli Lilly and Novartis. The other authors reported no conflicts of interest.


Barbieri J et al. J Am Acad Dermatol. 2020 Jan;82(1):72-9.