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Awareness of dermatologists regarding the ocular side effects of isotretinoin in Saudi Arabia

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Session Details

Session Title: Moderated Poster Session: Miscellaneous
Session Date/Time: Saturday 10/02/2018 | 14:00-15:00
Paper Time: 14:00
Venue: Poster Area

First Author: R.Alshareef SAUDI ARABIA
Co Author(s): A. Basheikh  A. Alattas              

Abstract Details


Isotretinoin is the most common drug of choice to treat refractory acne vulgarise, especially in adolescents. Although this drug has multiple ocular side effects, including; dry eyes, eye irritation, contact lens intolerance, and night vision problems (1), to our knowledge there has been no data to study the awareness of dermatologist regarding the ocular side effects of Isotretinoin. This research was conducted to assess how much dermatologists in Saudi Arabia know about the ocular side effects of isotretinoin, and their practice on how to deal with these side effects. To assess the awareness of dermatologists on the ocular side effects of isotretinoin and to follow up on their practice in prescribing isotretinoin to their patients.


Governmental and private dermatology clinics in different cities in Saudi Arabia


A cross-sectional study conducted in major cities in Saudi Arabia with a sample size of 150 dermatologists. 86 dermatology boards certified, 17 dermatology board eligible and 47 dermatology residents participated in this study. Data was collected through a consent interview questionnaire in private clinics, governmental hospitals, academic hospitals and military hospitals. Statistical Package for Social Science Software (SPSS Version 20) was used for data analysis. Chi-square Test was utilized.


Among 150 dermatologists participated, 77(51.3%) were males and 73(48.7%) were females. On prescribe isotretinoin to acne patients; 73 responded always (48.3%), 71 sometimes (47.3%). 146 (97.3%) were aware of the ocular side effects of the drug and 139 (92.7%) warn their patients about the ocular side effects. On the importance to refer patients to an ophthalmologist for eye examination before starting Isotretinoin course, 120 (80.0%) responded to ‘No’. When Dermatologists were asked about referring patients to ophthalmologist when prescribing Isotretinoin; 64 (42.7%) responded never; 42(28.0%) rarely; 31 (27.7%) sometimes and 13 (8.7%) always. On asking patients about recent LASIK surgery before starting the Isotretinoin course 50 (33.3%) responded rarely or never. 66 (44 %) of dermatologists rarely or never warn their patients to avoid LASIK for at least 6 months after Isotretinoin course. 107 (71.3%) inform their patients of discomfort when wearing contact lenses.


This study demonstrates Dermatologists’ screening habits of isotretinoin ocular side effects. The majority didn’t think it is important to refer patients to Ophthalmologist for dry eye detection & treatment. More than one third didn’t inquire about recent laser refractive surgery before starting the course, nor warn the patient not to undergo laser refractive surgery during the course or 6 months after the end of the course. Hence, improving physicians’ awareness to prevent ocular damage in isotretinoin patients is essential

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