Side effects

Why Are There Side Effects With Oratane?

All medicines have side effects. With Oratane the side effects are closely linked to Oratane actually working. If you are experiencing the side effects, then your Oratane is working and it won’t be long before your acne starts improving. The side effects of Oratane can range from mild to severe. Most of the side effects can be kept under control.

Who Will Get Side Effects?

Everyone! With Oratane everyone taking it will get some side effects. On the bright side, these side effects are a really good way to tell that your Oratane is actually working and they can be kept under control with good skin care. Some advice on how to control the side effects that happen while you are using Oratane can be found in the Skin Care section of this booklet.

The intensity of the side effects will vary from patient to patient. Most of the common side effects are not very bad. It is important for you to be aware of the side effects that may occur while you are taking Oratane. It is also important for you to remember that you will not get all of the side effects mentioned in this section; you may only get one or two mild side effects. If you get side effects while taking Oratane you may find that they wear off with time.

What Are the Common Side Effects?

You may start to get some side effects with Oratane before your acne starts to clear. This will tell you that your Oratane is working and it is just a matter of time before your acne starts to improve.

When you first start taking Oratane one of the first side effects you may notice is that your acne starts to get worse. This does not mean that your Oratane is not working. You need to keep taking your Oratane as prescribed by your doctor. Within seven to ten days your acne should stop getting worse and should then start to clear.

Dryness of the skin is the most common side effect with Oratane. Since Oratane works by drying up the oil glands in your skin you will find that your skin will become drier and perhaps more fragile. You may find that your lips become dry and cracked. Your face may look redder than usual and your skin may start to peel. It is important to look after your skin, the instructions in the Skin Care section of this booklet will help you keep the side effects under control.

A less common side effect of Oratane treatment is drying of the inside of the nose and dry eyes. Drying of the nose can be uncomfortable and can lead to nose bleeds. There are ways to prevent and manage this. These are explained in the Skin Care section of this booklet. Dry eyes can be a problem for people who wear contact lenses or people who work in air conditioned areas. You may find that you need to use eyedrops to keep your eyes moist. You may also find that you cannot wear your contact lenses for as long as you did before starting on Oratane.

While you are taking Oratane you will find that your skin is more sensitive to the sun. You will need to take extra care to avoid sunburn. You should wear a sunscreen daily and try to avoid spending a long time in the sun.

What Are the Other Side Effects?

Most patients will not experience the side effects listed in this section, these side effects are not very common.

There have been reports of people taking Oratane finding that their joints and muscles feel tender and stiff. This can be a problem if you are intending to do a lot of heavy exercise while taking Oratane. It is a good idea to discuss this with your doctor.

Other serious but rarely experienced side effects of Oratane include skin infections, peeling of the palms and soles of the feet, bleeding and inflammation of the gums, headaches, blurred vision, dizziness, weight loss, diarrhoea and an abnormal menstrual cycle. Thinning of the hair may also occur; this is more common in men. You should immediately tell your doctor if you feel that the medication is making you unhappy or depressed.

It is important to remember that the side effects seen with Oratane treatment are reversible. They should disappear soon after you have stopped taking Oratane.

The only side effect that is not reversible is the birth defects that can be caused if you become pregnant while taking Oratane. There is detailed information about how and why you MUST prevent pregnancy while taking Oratane in the Contraception section of this website.

What Is Important For Me To Tell My Doctor?

It is important for you to make sure that you tell your doctor if any of the things listed below happen.

  • If you can’t tolerate the side effects you are getting while taking Oratane tell your doctor. Your dose of Oratane may need to be adjusted.
  • If you get any of the serious less common side effects mentioned in the section ‘What Are the Other Side Effects?‘.
  • If you feel unhappy or depressed.

When Will the Side Effects Go Away?

When you have finished your course of Oratane. Because Oratane is causing the side effects when you have finished taking Oratane the side effects should go away.

Where Can I Get More Help and Information?

If you have any questions about the side effects that you have, or will get while you are on Oratane, you can talk to your dermatologist or call Douglas Pharmaceuticals (the people who make Oratane) on their toll free number from within New Zealand on 0508 ORATANE (672 826). or in Australia, Genepharm on 1-800-678-302

Further information about acne can be found in the Further Information on Acne section of this website.

For even more information visit the dermatological website www.dermnet.org.nz