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Isotrex gel uses the active ingredient isotretinoin from the group of medicines known as retinoids. Made by Stiefel it unblocks pores to combat acne symptoms.

We do not offer this treatment through our service. If you would like to know more about acne treatments, we recommend you speak to your GP.

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PLEASE NOTE: This treatment is not available through our online pharmacy service. This page is for information only. If you are experiencing any of the symptoms related to the condition(s) this medication treats, we strongly recommend that you see your GP in person.

This content was reviewed by a clinician on

05 January 2021
dr daniel

Dr Daniel Atkinson

(GP Clinical Lead - GMC No. 4624794) 05 January 2021
Product information

Stiefel makes Isotrex gel to treat the often frustrating symptoms of acne. It unblocks pores and prevents the formation of spots by using the active ingredient isotretinoin. A thin layer of the topical medication is applied direct to the affected area, usually twice a day.

  1. Easily applied topical gel
  2. Helps unblock pores and prevent spots
  3. Manufactured by Stiefel

The skin condition known as acne affects a large portion of the UK population. According to the NHS, it is most common in younger people, with close to 80 percent of those aged between 11 and 30 years being affected. Nonetheless, people of all ages can be diagnosed. Women are more likely to develop symptoms. This is said to be linked to hormone changes attributed to puberty, periods, pregnancy and polycystic ovaries.

Acne occurs when the skin’s tiny hair follicles become blocked. This can happen when the sebaceous glands produce excess sebum. This substance lubricates the hair and skin and stops it from drying out. If too much is produced it can mix with dead skin cells and clog pores. This can result in whiteheads or blackheads forming. Infected cysts and pustules may also develop if the skin’s usually harmless bacteria infiltrates the blocked follicles.

Milder cases of acne may not require treatment. Some people see improvements in their symptoms by introducing a daily cleansing routine. Those who contract acne may notice symptoms sporadically for several years but the majority see a vast improvement as they get older. The condition quite often resolves itself during the person’s mid-twenties. Acne symptoms can be difficult to deal with and even have a detrimental affect on a person’s mental wellbeing. There are a variety treatments available in order to reduce the number of spots and restore the skin’s natural balance. Isotrex gel is one such treatment and is available to buy from our online pharmacy.

Isotrex gel works by unblocking pores, allowing blackheads and whiteheads to be expelled from the skin more easily. It also encourages the turnover of skin cells, known as exfoliation, which makes it more difficult for spots to form. This allows the skin to get rid of current spots and prevent other ones from appearing, reducing the appearance of acne.

To find out more about acne treatments, speak to your doctor. If you are experiencing symptoms which are not responding to your current treatment, they may be able to help you find a suitable solution.

Page last reviewed:  05/01/2021


Use this medication exactly as your doctor tells you to. If you have any concerns you should speak to the prescribing physician before commencing treatment.

  1. Remove all traces of make-up.
  2. Wash your hands.
  3. Gently wash the area with warm water and pat dry. 
  4. Use your fingertip to carefully rub in a thin layer of gel onto the affected area. 
  5. Make sure that you cover the whole area, not just individual spots. 
  6. Wash your hands again after use.

Our instructions form only a brief guide. You should read the enclosed patient information leaflet for detailed directions.

Download PDF

Page last reviewed:  05/01/2021
Please read the patient information leaflet for this medicine fully before use:

Isotrex 30g

Side effects & Warnings

Side effects

As with all medications, there is a chance that Isotrex will cause unwanted side effects, although not everyone will experience them. If you notice any serious reactions then you should see a doctor immediately.

Very common (1 in 10 people or more):
Redness, peeling, stinging, burning sensation, itching or dry skin.

Frequency unknown:
Change in pigmentation of the skin or an increased sensitivity to sunlight.

A comprehensive list of side effects can be located in the patient information leaflet. If you have any queries about the possible effects you should speak to a healthcare professional.


Taking it with other medications

It is possible that using Isotrex alongside other acne treatments could make the skin condition worse. Therefore it is important to disclose all medicinal or remedial products you are using or have recently used. In particular, administering Isotrex at the same time as benzoyl peroxide may render this product less effective.

Conditions to look out for

It is important that you inform the prescribing clinician of your medical history. This consists of conditions that you currently have or previously had. This includes but is not limited to: skin cancer; eczema; rosacea; perioral dermatitis and sensitivity to sunlight.

Pregnancy and breastfeeding

Do not use this product if you are pregnant, think you could be pregnant, breastfeeding or planning on becoming pregnant soon. A reliable form of contraception should be adopted whilst using this medication. If you have any concerns about using this treatment you should discuss them with your doctor.

Sunlight and ultraviolet sun lamps

Do not use sunbeds when taking Isotrex. It is also important to protect your skin from sunlight by using sunscreen and wearing clothes.

Page last reviewed:  05/01/2021
Please read the patient information leaflet for this medicine fully before use:

Isotrex 30g


Can I still drink alcohol?

There should be no interactions between Isotrex and alcohol.

Will I still be able to drive?

You should determine whether using this medication results in any side effects that reduce your ability to drive before doing so.

Can I take this medicine while pregnant?

No. You should tell the prescribing physician if you are pregnant, trying to conceive or are breastfeeding. They will make a decision about the best course of treatment for you.

How should I store it?

Store out of sight and reach of children. Keep the tube lid tightly closed when not in use. Do not leave in direct sunlight and store below 25°C.

Am I allergic to anything in the medicine?

If you have allergies to any of the following ingredients you should not use this product: isotretinoin, hydroxypropylcellulose, butylated hydroxytoluene (E321) and ethanol.

One tube contains 30 grams of gel.

Is it available over-the-counter?

No. You will need a prescription in order to be to buy this treatment.

Is it right for me?

Talk to your GP if you have never taken this treatment before, if you have new acne symptoms, or symptoms which won’t respond to your current treatment.

Page last reviewed:  05/01/2021
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