By Dr. Brian McDonough, Medical Editor

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Some call it the medication of last resort. But accutane is one of the most effective tools that dermatologists have in the battle against acne. In reality, it’s left for those who have the most severe cases.

The reason that accutane is left as a last resort is because it is a very potent but potentially dangerous drug. In addition to affecting blood levels of triglycerides and potentially leading to mood swings and sluggishness, the drug can cause severe birth defects in babies of women who take it while pregnant.

When accutane is prescribed, all of these points need to be discussed carefully with patients and in the vast majority of cases it is a dermatologist who is the most effective person to deal with this.