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August 12, 2003

Research: Causes and Prevention

Question from New Jersey, USA:

I've been reading over some other questions regarding Accutane and diabetes, and although you say that Accutane does not cause diabetes, I don't think that's true. My 19 year old boyfriend was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes a little over a month ago, and he had taking Accutane for six months prior to that. He is active and doesn't maintain a poor diet so I don't understand how he could just get diabetes. Obviously, there must be some type of connection because other people have had similar experiences. Can you please give me some answers regarding the possible cause of his diabetes?

Answer:

I understand your concern. People have lots of concerns about the cause of diabetes. The scientific method allows us to ask questions, and get answers, sometimes even surprising answers. We have the ability to study large populations, thanks to computers and look at large numbers of people, literally millions. In that group some develop diabetes and most do not. We are able to look at lots of questions, drugs, vaccines etc. — many take the drugs or get the vaccines — few get diabetes. The question is risk, do more get diabetes than one would expect. We know the proportion in the group as a whole, what is the proportion with diabetes. This application of science has not demonstrated a risk for Accutane. You have to do it this way in order to truly assess risk.

LD