Hans Peterson
Hans Peterson

Accutane Made Me Do It

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[repost from the original post on beforeyoutakethatpill.com on October 3, 2007]

I was interviewed this morning by WLS-TV in Chicago about  the case of a man who admitted to killing his dermatologist, claiming that the acne medication Accutane made him do it. I referred to our study of 28 acne patients that showed that four months of treatment with accutane (but not antibiotics) resulted in a reduction in function of a brain area involved in mood and behavior called the orbitofrontal cortex.

There are also a number of cases of depression, suicide, violence and aggression associated with Accutane use, including “challenge-rechallenge” cases.  In addition there is a well established neuroscience of the retinoids  (a class of compounds of which Accutane is a member)  although the manufacturer of Accutane  (Roche) continues to deny a causal association and make arguments against an association as well as other effects to silence the issue. In fact, as reported in USA Today last year, one of the scientists working for Roche stated in a deposition that scientist Peter Schifferdecker in fact said that Accutane caused depression in some susceptible individuals, although the marketing team had the report changed since they thought it would “have an adverse effect on marketing.”

Strange business, indeed.

Update on the case of Hans Peterson’s homicide of Dr. David Cornbleet.

Doug Bremner MD recounts his experiences as an expert witness in drug safety litigation related to Accutane and suicide and depression in his 2011 book The Goose That Laid the Golden Egg.