In acne patients, isotretinoin associated with lower depression

Access to the full content of this site is available only to registered healthcare professionals. Register to read more


  • A systematic review eases concerns that isotretinoin may lead to increased depression, and instead shows a decrease.

Why this matters

  • No quantitative analysis of isotretinoin and depression had previously been conducted.

Study design

  • The researchers conducted a meta-analysis of 31 studies.
  • Funding: None.

Key results

  • After isotretinoin treatment depression prevalence declined (risk ratio, 0.588), and there was a statistically significant decline in depression scores after treatment (standardized mean difference, −0.335).
  • An analysis of 6 controlled studies showed improvements in baseline depression scores for patients treated with isotretinoin or an alternative therapy, with no significant difference between the 2 groups.


  • None of the included studies were randomized controlled trials.
  • There was large inter-study variability.