Beware of isotretinoin, the common retinoid drug used to treat severe acne. More case reports have emerged showing that the drug can cause Guillain-Barré (GB) paralysis.
The UK Committee on Safety of Medicines has received reports of adults and teenagers developing the paralysing syndrome after using the drug. In one case, a 31-year-old man who’d used 80 mg/day of oral isotretinoin for five weeks is unable to do much besides blink; in another instance, a 13-year-old boy given 50 mg/day, then 30 mg/day, for three months must now be kept on a ventilator.
The incidence of GB syndrome with isotretinoin is one in every 50,000 patients (BMJ, 2004; 328: 1537).