Isotretinoin Treatment Practices and Outcomes in Acne Patients During the COVID-19 Pandemic: A Single Center, Retrospective, Comparative Study

Isotretinoin Treatment Practices and Outcomes in Acne Patients During the COVID-19 Pandemic: A Single Center, Retrospective, Comparative Study


  • Mehmet Fatih Atak Ankara University, School of Medicine, Dermatology Department
  • Banu Ismail Mendi Department of Dermatology, Ankara University, Ankara, Turkey
  • Incilay Kalay Yildizhan Department of Dermatology, Ankara University, Ankara, Turkey
  • Hatice Erdi Sanli Ankara University, School of Medicine, Dermatology Department
  • Banu Farabi Department of Internal Medicine, Saint Peter’s University Hospital, New Brunswick, NJ, USA


isotretinoin, treatment, acne, COVID-19, pandemic


Introduction: The COVID-19 pandemic drastically changed the priorities in healthcare services; outpatient management of acne has changed during this period.

Objectives: We aimed to investigate treatment practices, outcomes and identify modified follow-up schedules applied during the pandemic.

Methods: The patients who were admitted to dermatology outpatient clinic between March 13 and July 13, 2020, were included. Patients who were admitted between March 13 and July 13, 2019, were served as controls for the study. For each patient, age, gender, treatment protocols, treatment intervals, compliance with the treatment, treatment modifications, and adverse events were recorded.

Results: The total number of acne patients admitted to dermatology outpatient clinics during the pandemic period was 278 and consisted of 12.3% (278) of all admissions. Isotretinoin treatment was started in only 16 (5.8%) of the patients. The proportion of patients who were under follow-up was significantly higher during the pandemic period (P < 0.005). There was no difference between the pandemic period and the non-pandemic period in terms of starting isotretinoin treatment (P > 0.05). During pandemic period, 79% of the patients who used isotretinoin were followed-up every two or more months. Extended follow-up intervals showed no difference for detecting side effects (P > 0.05).

Conclusions: Acne patients constitute an important part of dermatology outpatient clinics. During the pandemic period, the majority of acne patients came for follow-up. Extended follow-up periods were adopted by physicians and were found safe and effective in the current study. Thus, isotretinoin treatment seems efficacious and safe during pandemic period.


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Original Article

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Isotretinoin Treatment Practices and Outcomes in Acne Patients During the COVID-19 Pandemic: A Single Center, Retrospective, Comparative Study. Dermatol Pract Concept [Internet]. 2022 Feb. 2 [cited 2024 May 19];12(1):e2022036. Available from: