Isotretinoin belongs to a group of medicines called retinoids which are used to treat severe acne.
Currently, there are two brands of isotretinoin funded: Oratane and Isotane. From 1 January 2019 Oratane will be the only funded brand. This means that from 1 January 2019 the Isotane brand will no longer be funded.
New 5 mg strength will be available from 1 August 2018
From 1 August 2018 a 5 mg strength of isotretinoin will be funded. This is in addition to the 10 mg and 20 mg strengths that are already available.
The changes will start from 1 August 2018
The exact timing of your brand change may vary but will be from 1 August 2018 on. Check with your pharmacist when you can expect to get the new brand.
We expect the dates of the change to be:
- From 1 August 2018 the 5 mg strength is funded.
- From 1 October 2018 a part payment may be required for Isotane.
- From 1 January 2019 Oratane continues to be fully funded and Isotane is no longer funded.
If you want to keep using your current brand of isotretinoin you can ask your pharmacist to check the price and availability.
Oratane works the same as the other brands
- Oratane works in the same way as Isotane. It has the same active ingredient as other brands and has been thoroughly evaluated by Medsafe to ensure it’s safe and works the same as another brand.
- It’s understandable you might have questions about medicine brand changes. If you have any questions or concerns about changes to medicines, you should talk with your doctor, nurse or pharmacist.
There’s more information about medicines and changes to medicines on PHARMAC’s website: The facts about generic and biosimilar medicines.
Information for prescribers
BPACnz have recently produced an article on Prescribing isotretinoin for patients with acne in primary care.(external link) This article included information on low-dose regimes.
Last updated: 6 September 2019