Lee-On-The-Solent Mum Welcomes Acne Drug Review

A Hampshire mum, who blames an acne treatment for her teenage son's death, is welcoming the news more research will be carried out into the drug.

Robbie Hale was found at the garage of his home in Corsair Close, Lee-on-the-Solent, on 8 January 2011 but resuscitation attempts by family and paramedics failed to save him.

The 16-year-old had been taking Roaccutane, which has been linked to severe mood swings.

A government science group, the Commission on Human Medicines, is now going to review all the data on the drug.

This move comes as result of a meeting between MPs Ed Vaizey and Nick Harvey, Health Ministers, and affected families in February of this year.

A group will now be convened, made up of experts in clinical pharmacology, dermatology, psychiatry and others - a representative from the British Association of Dermatologists (BAD) will also be invited to sit on the group.

It is thought that the advisory group will meet in May/June 2014.

Robbie's mum Lorraine Hale says she hopes it's a step towards it being banned:

"Robbie was the most popular, happy, outgoing kid. 100% if he hadn't taken the drug he'd still be with me today.

"Robbie told me he was OK but obviously he wasn't OK.

"My personal view is it should be banned. I don't think it should be available for people to take if there's a risk of them taking their lives.

"One life is too many. By withdrawing it, if it saves lives, that's the most important thing.

Gosport MP Caroline Dinenage told Heart:

"I welcome the news that the Commission on Human Medicines are to review available data regarding the acne drug Isotretinoin.

"It's an issue that I have been concerned about since the death of a teenager, Robbie Hale, from my own Gosport constituency in 2011. 

"It is absolutely right that exhaustive efforts are made to be sure that any adverse reactions to this drug are fully identified and understood."

A Portsmouth inquest heard that the ''popular'' teenager had become aggressive with a lack of self-confidence after he was prescribed with isotretinoin, or Roaccutane, a treatment for acne.

The inquest heard that the medication was developed since 1982 by Roche Products Limited and marketed under the name Roaccutane but it is understood that Robbie was given a version produced by Beacon Pharmaceuticals.

Robbie's mother, Lorraine Hale, told the hearing that prior to taking the medication in April 2010, Robbie had been a confident and capable youngster.

She told the inquest his ''personality changed'' having been prescribed the acne medication, which had reported side-effects of depression and suicidal tendencies.

She said that he had not been embarrassed or teased about his acne but had sought treatment when it became uncomfortable on his back.

The inquest heard that Robbie became upset at the breakdown of his relationship with his girlfriend who moved to Derby to live with her mother.

The inquest heard that isotretinoin patients reporting suicidal tendencies was rare at less than one in 10,000.

Mood swings were also rare and experienced between one in 1,000 and one in 10,000 but could carry on for up to between six months and a year after completing a treatment course.

And the inquest was told that there was no scientifically-proven link between the drug and suicide.

David Horsley, coroner for Portsmouth and South East Hampshire, recorded an open verdict and explained he could not rule out a possible link between the drug and Robbie's state of mind.

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