Accutane and Ulcerative Colitis

What is Ulcerative Colitis?

Ulcerative colitis is a type of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) that causes chronic inflammation of the digestive tract. It primarily affects the large intestine (colon) and rectum.


Symptoms of ulcerative colitis may include:

  • Abdominal pain
  • Abdominal cramping
  • Abdominal sounds
  • Rectal pain
  • Bloody stools
  • Diarrhea
  • Fever
  • Weight loss
  • Nausea
  • Gastrointestinal bleeding
  • Vomiting
  • Joint pain

The severity of ulcerative colitis symptoms can change over time. There may be periods of exacerbated symptoms and periods that are relatively symptom-free. The disease typically does not go into remission on its own and therefore usually requires treatment.


Ulcerative colitis can result in complications that can be life threatening and/or require emergency surgery. These complications include:

  • Massive bleeding in the colon
  • Perforation of the colon
  • A rapid widening of the colon (toxic megacolon)


Treatment for ulcerative colitis depends on the severity of the disease. Strong medications used to treat the disease include immunomodulators and corticosteriods. Medications may be taken orally or rectally.

Surgery is required in many cases, if the disease is more serious or complications develop. Some patients choose to have surgery when medications are not effective. Surgery typically involves removal of the colon and rectum (proctocolectomy). An additional procedure to create an opening in the abdominal wall (ileoostomy) may also be necessary.

Comparison to Crohn’s Disease

  • Ulcerative colitis typically affects the innermost lining of the colon and rectum, while Crohn’s disease usually spreads deep into tissues.
  • Ulcerative colitis occurs through continuous stretches of the colon, while Crohn’s disease can occur in patches anywhere in the digestive tract.
  • Ulcerative colitis can be “cured” with surgery, while Crohn’s disease cannot be “cured” through surgery.

Both ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease can be debilitating and result in life-threatening complications.

If you or a loved one has taken Accutane and experienced the symptoms of ulcerative colitis, call us right away at 1-800-650-9040.