So what’s the catch with this “miracle” drug and why don’t doctors prescribe it to everyone? Accutane is controversial for many reasons, but principally because of its most insidious side effect: It has been proven to cause severe birth defects in nearly 90% of the babies born to women who were pregnant while taking it. Before physicians knew about this alarming hazard, and when it was first prescribed in France back in the 1970s before enough research had been conducted to establish its safety, more than 800 babies out of 1,000 were born seriously deformed. The only way to avoid this risk is to abstain from sex during treatment or, according to the information provided with every prescription, to use a minimum of two forms of birth control. If you are taking a birth-control pill, you still need to use a condom or diaphragm. You will need to discuss with your physician how long to continue using the extra birth-control precautions after you are done taking Accutane.