Acne is “causing a great deal of disability” for many people who have it, Dr Clare Gerada MBE has said.
The former president of the Royal College of GPs suggested that those suffering with severe acne are “terrified of going out”.
This comes after people have claimed the drug Roaccutane, which is perscribed for severe acne, caused erectile dysfunction, psychosis and suicidal thoughts.
Dr Gerada told talkRADIO’s Matthew Wright that the tablet had been around “for a number of years” and only given out by specialists.
“[Roaccutane] is for people whose acne is causing a great deal of disability,” she said.
“We are talking about people who are terrified of going out.
“I am not talking about mild teenage forms of acne.”
Dr Gerada said that the acne drug is “very strictly controlled”.
However, she added: “Every drugs – even placebo drugs – have side effects.
“Every drug has around 15 years of clinical trials and that is why you have to weigh up the benefits.”
Dr Gerada said that patients should be told both about the risks and benefits of any drug.
“I have referred people to Roaccutane and they have been very happy. It has transformed their skin but medicines are dangerous and people should take as few as possible unless it is absolutely necessary,” she said.