Pharmacy Times
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The FDA has launched a new, high-profile Web site to warnpatients of the risks of buying Accutane (isotretinoin) over theInternet. Calling the controversial acne drug "a potentiallydangerous prescription medicine that should only be takenunder the close supervision of your health care professionaland pharmacist,"the FDA's online warning advises pregnantwomen and those who may become pregnant that"isotretinoin can cause birth defects, miscarriage, prematurebirths, and death in babies."

Buying this drug online "bypasses important procedures toensure that patients can take this drug safely,"the agency'sWeb site explains. In addition to those dangers, the FDA'sonline notice warns patients that "when you buy drugs overthe Internet, especially from sites that don't require a prescription,you may get counterfeit products, products withdangerous ingredients, products that don't work, and productsthat were not labeled or shipped correctly."

The new Web site includes a link to other FDA onlineresources, including the agency's guide for "Buying Medicinesand Medical Products Online."The FDA urges patients whobuy drugs online to "make sure the site requires a prescriptionand has a pharmacist available for questions."

Additionally, the FDA recommends buying "only fromlicensed pharmacies located in the United States,"and ensuringthat the online pharmacy is certified by the NationalAssociation of Boards of Pharmacy. The site can be accessedat www.fda.gov/buyonline/accutane.

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