iPledge Requirements for Women

iPledge Program Requirements for Women who can get Pregnant

If you're going to take isotretinoin, prepare to get really familiar with the iPledge program.  You'll need to enroll in iPledge to get your prescription.

Because of the high risk of birth defects in babies whose mothers take isotretinoin any woman who can become pregnant, no matter how remote the chances, have certain criteria to meet in order to receive this medication. This includes young ladies who have not started menstruating yet, and even women who have had their tubes tied.

If you are a woman who can get pregnant (no matter how slight the chances,) your iPledge requirements are:

Talk to Your Doctor

Cropped shot of young woman holding medicine capsule and glass of water
iPledge Requirements for Women. Maria Fuchs / Getty Images

Before you even think about starting treatment, your doctor will talk to you about the proper use and possible side effects of isotretinoin use. It's important you understand all the risks involved before committing to treatment.

Read and Sign Patient Information/Informed Consent

Your doctor will give you these documents to review and sign. These documents were meant to ensure you fully understand how isotretinoin works, it's side effects, and your responsibilities while taking this drug. If you're not clear on something, don't be afraid to ask!

Submit to Regular Pregnancy Testing

You must have two negative pregnancy tests before you receive your first month's supply of isotretinoin (one before you're accepted into the program, and one just before you get your prescription). You'll also need a negative pregnancy test each month before getting your refill, and one last pregnancy test one month after stopping treatment.

But a home pregnancy test, or even one done at your doctor's office, won't do. Monthly pregnancy tests must be done by an iPledge approved lab. Your doctor will give you information on approved labs in your area.

Use Two Forms of Contraception at All Times

You must use two forms of contraception one month prior to receiving your medication, during treatment, and for one month after stopping treatment. Birth control forms must be used together, at the same time (i.e. condoms along with oral contraceptives).

Not all forms of birth control are approved by the iPledge program. Talk to your doctor about accepted forms of contraception. This appointment may be paid for by the program.

See Your Doctor Every Month

You'll be seeing a lot of your doctor during your isotretinoin treatment. You'll have an appointment every month to discuss your questions and concerns, fill him in on the side effects you're experiencing, and take blood tests as needed.

Answer Questions in the iPledge System

Each month, before you pick up your medication, you'll need to access the iPledge system via your computer. Once there, you will be asked random questions about the iPledge program. You will also confirm the two birth control methods you are using.

And no, you can't skip this step. Your pharmacist can't fill your prescription until you have completed all necessary steps.

Pick up Your Prescription within a 7-Day Window

Count Day 1 as the day of your pregnancy test. You will have to fill and pick up your prescription within the next seven days.

If, for some reason, you can't get your isotretinoin within this window, you will have to re-qualify to receive your medication (i.e. pregnancy testing, etc.) Unless this is your first prescription, you can immediately begin the qualifying process.

If you miss the 7-day window to pick up your very first prescription, you will have to wait 19 days before you can start the qualification process again. You will be locked out of the system during this time, no exceptions. Neither your pharmacist nor the iPledge call center can "unlock" you.

Not Donate Blood

Do not donate blood while taking isotretinoin. If your blood is given to a woman who is pregnant, her unborn child could be exposed to the drug and develop birth defects.

As these steps are completed, they are entered into the computer-based iPledge system. Your pharmacist will access this system to receive authorization to give you your medication. You must re-qualify with iPledge every month prior to refilling your prescription.

iPledge Requirements for Men, Women Who Can't Get Pregnant

Next Steps:

Your Isotretinoin Treatment Guide

Accutane Alternatives


"About iPledge." iPledge. 2005. Web. 23 Dec. 2015.