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Isotrexin Gel

Isotrexin Gel (30g)

Sorry, this treatment is currently out of stock.

Isotrex has been discontinued by the manufacturer and the production has been stopped. 

Other acne treatments are available, including Treclin which also contains isotretinoin.


View Acne Treatments

Isotrexin gel - Topical treatment for moderate acne

Isotrexin gel is a dual-action prescription-only acne treatment used to treat moderate to severe acne. It is available online from The Independent Pharmacy following a free consultation for our doctor to check it will be safe and effective for you.

Isotrexin Gel - Important Information

  • Age: 18 years +

    Maximum per order: 3

  • Pregnancy: Not suitable

    Breastfeeding: Not suitable

What is Isotrexin gel?

Isotrexin is a topical gel which is used once or twice daily to treat moderate acne. Moderate acne is where you experience widespread whiteheads and blackheads, with papules and pustules, as well as some inflammation.

Isotrexin is a combination acne treatment that contains two different medicines called erythromycin and isotretinoin. 

Isotretinoin belongs to a family of medicines called retinoids, like vitamin A. It works by helping the skin to prevent pores from becoming blocked. If your pores become blocked (normally with dead skin and sebum), you get acne in the form of blackheads and whiteheads.

Erythromycin is an antibiotic that works by fighting bacteria that can cause acne (spots). Bacteria that normally live on the skin can cause blocked follicles to become infected and form into papules, pustules, nodules or cysts.

Isotrexin is different to Isotrex which has now been discontinued in the UK. Isotrex gel contains only isotretinoin, whereas Isotrexin contains isotretinoin in combination with erythromycin.

Isotrexin gel helps to:

  • make your skin less oily
  • loosen blackheads and whiteheads so that they come out more easily
  • stop new blackheads, whiteheads and spots from forming
  • lower the number of bacteria which can cause acne
  • lower the number of red, inflamed acne spots.

Isotrexin gel should be used once or twice daily, depending on response, for up to three months.

For further information, see the Isotrexin gel Patient Information Leaflet.

*Prescription medicines are supplied subject to a medical consultation at the discretion of a doctor.

How to use Isotrexin gel

Isotrexin gel should be used once or twice daily, depending on response. Most people should start using Isotrexin once daily and then slowly try to increase this to twice daily, if necessary, after around one week of treatment if there have been no side effects. Use continuously for up to THREE months.

After three months, you should take a break of around two weeks to assess your treatment and then treatment can be restarted, if necessary.

How to apply Isotrexin


  1. Wash your hands to remove any oil, dirt or bacteria before applying the cream.
  2. Completely remove any make-up, cosmetics or other creams.
  3. Wash the treatment area with a mild soap or cleanser and warm (not hot) water.
  4. Pat the area dry.
  5. Apply a thin layer of Isotrexin over all of the affected area (not just to the spots) using a clean fingertip and smooth into the skin.
  6. Wash your hands to remove any excess gel.

Isotrexin side effects

Like all medicines, Isotrexin can have some side effects. Most are mild and will pass within the first few weeks of treatment - if you experience any at all. However, there is a small chance of more serious side effects that users need to be aware of.

Stop using Isotrexin and see a doctor straight away if:

  • you have an allergic reaction: difficulty breathing or swallowing caused by sudden swelling of the throat, face, lips or mouth. A sudden swelling of hands, feet and ankles, or an itchy rash (hives)
  • you have severe burning, peeling or itching of your skin
  • you develop severe or prolonged diarrhoea

Stop using Isotrexin and see a doctor straight away, if you notice any of the side effects above you may need urgent medical treatment.

Very common side effects

These may affect more than 1 in 10 people:

  • skin pain
  • rash
  • dry skin
  • itchy skin
  • skin burning sensation
  • redness of the skin
  • skin irritation
  • skin peeling or scaling

Common side effects

These may affect up to 1 in 10 people:

  • itchy skin rash (dermatitis, eczema)

These effects are normal. If they cause you a problem, try using Isotrexin less often, or stop using it for a few days and then start again.

Other side effects

These side effects have occurred in a very small number of people but their exact frequency is unknown:

  • allergic reaction
  • swelling of the face
  • itchy, bumpy rash (hives)
  • abdominal pain
  • diarrhoea
  • increased sensitivity of the skin to sunlight
  • discolouration of the skin

Isotrexin comes in tubes each containing 30 g of a pale yellow gel.

The active ingredients in Isotrexin gel are erythromycin 2.0% (2 g per 100 g gel) and isotretinoin 0.05% (0.05 g per 100 g gel).

Isotrexin gel also contains hydroxypropylcellulose, butylated hydroxytoluene and ethanol. 

Isotrexin warnings

Do not use Isotrexin if:

  • you are allergic to erythromycin, isotretinoin or any of the other ingredients of Isotrexin (listed in Section 6)
  • you are pregnant, if you think you could be pregnant, or if you are planning to become pregnant
  • you are breastfeeding.

Don’t use Isotrexin if the above applies to you. If you are not sure, ask your doctor or pharmacist before using this medicine.

Before you use Isotrexin tell your doctor if:

  • you have a history of inflammatory bowel disease or antibiotic-associated colitis (severe, prolonged or bloody diarrhoea following antibiotic use). Antibiotics may cause a condition that results in severe diarrhoea and stomach cramps. This is unlikely to happen with antibiotics applied to the skin.

If you develop stomach cramps or diarrhoea that does not improve or is severe, stop using Isotrexin and contact your doctor immediately.

Before you use Isotrexin your doctor needs to know if:

  • you or any of your close family have had skin cancer
  • you have had problems tolerating this or similar medicines in the past (you have found them too irritating for your skin)
  • you have skin reactions in the sunlight
  • you have:
    • eczema
    • redness of the skin
    • broken blood vessels and tiny pimples usually in the centre of the face (rosacea)
    • redness and soreness around your mouth (perioral dermatitis)

Check with your doctor if you think any of the above may apply to you.

Whilst using Isotrexin:

  • Only use Isotrexin on your skin. Keep it away from areas such as your mouth, lips, and eyes.
  • Don’t use Isotrexin on any irritated areas of skin. For example, if you have cuts or grazes, or sunburn.
  • Don’t use too much Isotrexin on sensitive areas of skin such as the neck.
  • Don’t use Isotrexin on skin that has had cosmetic treatment recently such as depilation, chemical hair treatment, chemical peel, dermabrasion or laser resurfacing.
  • Take care not to use too much Isotrexin especially where it could run into your eyes or build up in the angles of your nose, skin folds, or other areas of the skin that do not require treatment.
  • Avoid skin products that contain alcohol, spices or lime. These products may irritate your skin more if used with Isotrexin.


Using Isotrexin can make your skin more sensitive to sunlight. When you are using Isotrexin you need to:

  • protect your skin from the sun. You can do this by using a sunscreen product which provides broad protection (protects against UVA and UVB rays) and wearing clothes to stop you getting sunburnt
  • avoid using sunbeds (sun lamps) or spending a long time in the sun.

If you do get sunburnt, stop using Isotrexin until your skin is better. Very cold or windy weather may also irritate your skin while you are using Isotrexin.

Other medicines and Isotrexin

Tell your doctor or pharmacist if you are using, have recently used, or might use any other medicines. If you have recently taken or used other medicines that contain erythromycin or clindamycin, there is an increased chance that Isotrexin will not work as well as it should.

Tell your doctor or pharmacist if you have used or taken any other medicines that contain erythromycin or clindamycin recently.

Tell your doctor or pharmacist before using your medicine if:

  • you are using benzoyl peroxide (another acne treatment). If used at the same time, it may make Isotrexin less effective. You may need to use these medicines at different times of the day (for example, one in the morning and the other at bedtime)
  • you are using any other acne treatment. If used at the same time, it may make skin irritation worse. If your skin becomes very irritated, you may need to use a moisturiser, use Isotrexin less often or stop using it for a short period to allow your skin to recover and then re-start treatment. Stop treatment and see your doctor if skin irritation does not improve.

If you are not sure if the above applies to you, check with your doctor or pharmacist before using Isotrexin.

Pregnancy and breastfeeding

Don’t use Isotrexin if:

  • you are pregnant or thinking of becoming pregnant. Your doctor can give you more information.
  • you are breastfeeding. Discuss with your doctor whether you choose to breast-feed or to use Isotrexin.

If you do become pregnant during treatment with Isotrexin, tell your doctor. Ask your doctor or pharmacist for advice before using any medicine, if you are pregnant or breastfeeding.

Important information about some of the ingredients of Isotrexin

Isotrexin contains butylated hydroxytoluene (E321). This can cause local skin reactions (e.g. contact dermatitis). It can also cause irritation to your eyes and mucous membranes such as the lining of your nose.

Delivery & Shipping Information

Please note that due to the current situation with COVID-19, Royal Mail are experiencing some delays. This may mean that your order takes longer to arrive than you would normally expect. We are working hard to ensure that, where possible, all orders placed before 15:00 are still dispatched the same working day.


UK Orders

We offer FREE standard tracked delivery on orders over £40.

The following delivery options are available:

  • Standard Tracked Delivery - 3 - 5 day delivery - £2.95
  • Express Tracked Delivery - 1 - 3 day delivery - £4.45
  • DPD Next Day - 1 - 2 working days - £6.95
  • Special Delivery (Guaranteed before 21:00) - £8.95
  • Saturday Guaranteed before 21:00 - £10.45

Important Delivery Information

All our orders are sent out using Royal Mail (unless stated). We always aim to dispatch all Royal Mail orders received before 15:00 the same working day. Any orders received after 15:00 or over the weekend will be dispatched the next working day. Orders will not be dispatched on weekends or bank holidays.

All orders are subject to approval by our team of doctors and pharmacists. Your delivery date in the checkout is subject to your consultation being approved by our healthcare team.

All orders can be fully tracked from your dispatch email and in your account.

We ensure all parcels are in plain packaging for discreet delivery of your medicines and pharmacy goods. Where possible, we will attempt to size all parcels to fit through your letterbox in tamper-proof packaging. By placing an order on our website, you confirm that it is safe and appropriate for a package containing medicines to be posted through your letterbox, if the carrier is able to do so. You should notify our customer support team if it is not safe for the package to be posted through the letterbox, for example due to animals or small children.

Deliveries containing pharmacy-only or prescription medicines may require a signature on receipt. 

Delivery is free for all NHS prescriptions.


Royal Mail

Royal Mail are the most widely recognised mail delivery company in the UK. Being on the UK’s 29 million doorsteps six days a week means they offer unparalleled price and convenience. The Independent Pharmacy uses Royal Mail’s Tracked 48, Tracked 24, and Special Delivery Guaranteed parcel services to offer reliable, fully-tracked delivery at very competitive prices. Your Royal Mail parcel will arrive with your normal daily delivery of post.

Please note: Royal Mail do not deliver on Sundays or Bank Holidays - this should be taken into account when ordering. 

If you are not home to accept your delivery, a card should be left by the Royal Mail representative. This card will provide details of where you can collect the order or how to arrange re-delivery.

Should you be unable to collect your missed delivery or arrange for your medication to be redelivered by Royal Mail, the pharmacy can resend your medication to the same, or a different address provided it has been returned to us and this happens within a 30 day window.

Once a package has been shipped with Royal Mail we advise that you are bound to the terms and conditions of their use together with the terms and conditions contained herein.

You have the right to cancel your order up to the point when your treatment is dispatched. The pharmacist must destroy any medication within 30 days of it being returned, even un-opened boxes, so we are not able to offer refunds once your treatment has been dispatched.



DPD Local is the most innovative parcel carrier around. Thanks to their industry-leading Predict service, they provide parcel recipients with a one hour delivery window, notified by email, so you don't have to wait in all day. What's more, it enables receivers to watch the progress of their delivery on a real-time map, all the way down to a final 15 minute time-slot. 

As well as keeping customers informed at every stage of the journey, DPD believe in maximising choice and convenience. That's why DPD provide access to a suite of options both on the day of delivery and the night before, allowing customers to take delivery of their goods in a way that suits. If you wish to reschedule, you can:

  • Select an alternative delivery date
  • Opt for delivery to a nominated neighbour
  • Have the parcel left in a specified safe place
  • Collect the parcel from your local DPD Pickup Shop
  • Upgrade delivery to By 12

Please note: DPD do not deliver on Saturdays, Sundays or Bank Holidays - this should be taken into account when ordering. 

Once a package has been shipped with DPD we advise that you are bound to the terms and conditions of their use together with the terms and conditions contained herein.

You have the right to cancel your order up to the point when your treatment is dispatched. The pharmacist must destroy any medication within 30 days of it being returned, even un-opened boxes, so we are not able to offer refunds once your treatment has been dispatched.


Forwarding houses

We are unable to ship orders to mailing or forwarding houses for onwards shipping to locations outside of the UK.


BFPO Postcodes

Unfortunately we are unable to deliver medicines to BFPO postcodes.


Remote Areas

Please be aware that Royal Mail Guaranteed services are not available to all customers in the UK, especially those that live in remote postcodes. Royal Mail advise customers of the following:

We deliver by 17:30 the next working day in the following postcode areas:
AB30 - 39, 41 - 45, 51 - 56
GY9 Alderney (Channel Islands)
HS1, 3 - 9
IV21 - 28, 40 - 49, 51 - 56
KA27, 28
KW1 - 3, 5 - 15
KW16 Stromness Town only
PA20 (0&9)
PA28 - 38, 41 - 49, 76, 77
PH15, 17 - 26, 31 - 40, 49, 50


We deliver within two working days by 17:30 to the following postcodes areas:
GY1 Herm (Channel Islands)
GY9 Sark (Channel Islands)
PA60 - 75, 78
ZE2, 3


We deliver within three working days by 17:30 to the following postcode areas:
KW16 - non-Town
PH30, 41 - 44


Please note: This applies to our 'Special Delivery' and 'Saturday Guaranteed' services.


International Orders

We are currently unable to ship orders outside of the UK.

We are unable to ship orders to mailing or forwarding houses for onwards shipping to locations outside of the UK.

Need to know more about Acne?

Visit our advice area or contact our support team

Isotrexin Gel Reviews

Unsure about a treatment?
Ask our medical team for impartial information and advice about any treatment we provide or medical condition that we treat before you buy.

Authored By:

A photo of  Andy Boysan

Andy Boysan


Published on: 04-01-2019

Last modified on: 04-01-2019

Andy is a co-founder, the superintendent pharmacist and director at The Independent Pharmacy.

Reviewed By:

A photo of Dr Donald Grant

Dr Donald Grant

MB ChB DRCOG MRCGP Dip.orth.med

Reviewed on: 04-01-2019

Next review date: 04-01-2021

Dr Don Grant is a GP with over 30 years experience and is the Clinical Advisor at The Independent Pharmacy

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