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I just turned 50. Accutane was new at the time I tried it. I suffered severe acne on my face, back, and chest that was getting progressively worse despite all treatments. It was painful, embarrassing, and pretty much ruined most of high school for me.
I started accutane when I was 17/18 and was on it for 6 months with regular monitoring and blood checks. Side effects were similar to others with headaches, joint aches, dry lips and skin, and sensitivity to sun. I recall there was little improvement for the first 4 months. In fact I was so frustrated I started taking more than prescribed. Luckly my Dr discovered this quickly and freaked me out with descriptions of all the dire consequences that result from taking too much.
After I completed treatment, all acne was gone for at least a couple years. It felt amazing. I would get occasional pimples after that but nothing compared to what I experienced before treatment. I am a healthy fit male and I don't believe I have suffered any long term side effects. My sons are hitting teen age years now and if I see them starting to experience severe acne like I did, I will aggressively push the accutane route.
For anyone who is experiencing moderate to severe acne, do not let anyone convince you that it is unreasonable to suffer extensively from this disease. Acne is a real problem; and anyone who doesn't understand this concept, needs to experience uncontrollable bacteria erupting from their face or other body parts for several years. I empathize with acne sufferers because I experienced the agony and disruption my cystic acne caused when I was 14 years old. Life as as a teenage female was hard enough and I am sure it's much harder now. Even as a 46 year old after all of these years, I continue to believe Accutane prevented a much worse outcome.
Having stated my opinion, it important to respect Accutane. As with any drug, adverse effects exist. One must fully understand the detailed information that accompanies Accutane. Dangerous side effects may result in some patients taking this medication. Therefore, specified rules have to be followed. I never missed scheduled labs or dermatology appointments for triglyceride, pregnancy, mood monitoring, etc. There are other side effects such as dry lips, dry forearms, and extreme sun sensitivity. Although these effects were minimal for me compared to the agony during the days of my cystic acne; I still treated this medication delicately.
If considering this medication, please consider risks vs benefits. Make sure other acne treatments have been tried & failed, and maintain an open & trusting relationship with your dermatologist. Looking back I would never change my decision to take Accutane. Fortunately, I had a very open relationship with my mother & dermatologist. I also was not sexually active during treatment-Accutane is teratogenic; meaning it WILL cause severe birth defects if pregnancy occurs during or around treatment. This medication changed my life. My face would be permanently scarred without Accutane. I hope it remains available to change another person's life for the better.
I am 39 years old will be 40 this year, I am writing this to share my experience with other people who have or are struggling like me. I have tried everything nothing has worked, I started having acne at the age of 12, it was bad in my teens got even worst in my twenties tried diannette which worked really well after 10 years on it I started having gross angioedema of the face lips tongue hands and feet after a few trips to accident and emergency I got off it. My Gp still insists theres no relation.
had my children in my thirties, suffered unbelievably severe acne, by this time I was an expert at covering up. not even husband could see me without make up. I would go to bed with make up, when he fell asleep would go wash it off, wake up before h im to apply make up so he did not have to see the mess called my face. I have been on antidepressants not because I am really depressed but because I am fed up and down about the acne.
after many battles with my GP I finally got him to refer me to a dermatologist, I was after Accutane. I know all the risks but the possibility of the next two decades of my life in this state is unthinkable. I have started Accutane I am in my first week. my lips are a bit dry, my acne is getting worse as the moment but I am covering up and hanging in there. hoping for the best. I am on 20 mg for two weeks then 40 for two weeks bloods then 60 mg for the remainder of the treatment. the plan is to have bloods every 4 weeks.
to anyone out there with persistent acne, do not wait as long as me to get help, feeling horrid about acne is not frivolous, acne can really make one unhappy, insecure, and depressed.
I will keep you updated about my experience.
I did Accutane a couple of years ago after suffering with acne for YEARS. I was really nervous about taking it (I remember reading these forums all the time and doing a lot of research) and I'm sure there are a lot of people out there that are doing the same thing, so I feel like I need to write about my experience. This is my first time back on here since I finished Accutane (because I haven't thought about acne since!) but I felt like I needed to write something...because it might help someone else!
I'm 25 now. I had a little bit of trouble with acne in high school, but started to get progressively worse during my freshman year of college. I tried everything...OTC products, changed makeup, stopped wearing makeup, antibiotics, spironolactone, dietary changes, prescription topicals...EVERYTHING. I still have two grocery bags full of leftover acne treatments. 4 years later...graduation and my acne had gotten so bad that I felt embarrassed to do job interviews, and it made me really self conscious around people. I like to run, and I think I actually got used to my face burning when I worked out (those topicals are rough!)
My dermatologist finally brought up Accutane after she said there was literally nothing else I could try. Honestly, I thought Accutane was out of the question because I knew I had to be on birth control...which I basically can't do because I have Factor V Leiden (clotting disorder, estrogen-based BC puts me at risk for clots) The doctor I went to was comfortable with prescribing Accutane as long as I pledged to be abstinent while being treated, which at the time wasn't an issue for me (apparently not all derms are comfortable with this...my sister saw a dermatologist who refused to prescribe it unless she took BC)
Another obstacle was cost. My insurance wouldn't kick in for prescriptions until I hit my deductible. So I paid out of pocket for the first two prescriptions (~$700 each...could've got a new laptop or something instead, but whatever) After that I think they were about $50 for each prescription. My dermatologist said the higher dosage (60mg I think?) actually costs less than the 30mg dosage...so she ended up prescribing me 60mg, but told me only to take it every other day.
Long story short, it took a few months and a lot of lotion and lip balm, but 6 months later I was acne-free (and years later, I still am!!!) I think I was still getting zits until around month 5, so it definitely took some patience. But it made such a difference in my life. As far as makeup, I wear nothing on my face now except a tinted moisturizer and undereye concealer (because I DON'T NEED IT! It's fantastic!) I use Cetaphil facewash and moisturizer at night...no more money wasted on products that don't work. I get the occasional small blemish when I have my period, and that's it. It's honestly been a life changer.
By the way, Eucerin lotion and Aquaphor lip balm worked best for me...your skin and lips really dry out. I had some trouble with dry skin patches that turned into a rash on my arms at one point during treatment (kind of looked like eczema)...dermatologist gave me an rx for Triamcinolone cream which cleared it up. The only weird side effect that I had was some trouble with mild lower back pain during treatment, but it resolved itself shortly after I finished. And yeah, the ipledge program and labwork every month is a pain, but if you have trouble with bad acne you know it's a small price. My bloodwork results stayed perfect throughout treatment, by the way...I think my total cholesterol went up a few points, but it was also pretty good to begin with!
So yes, Accutane can be a dangerous medication and it should be properly monitored, and people should be fully aware of the risks. Risk vs. benefit...this med is reserved for people who have tried everything else.
All meds have side effects, most have warnings about problems that they CAN cause. You'll probably read horror stories in your research about people that had bad luck with Accutane, but not every medication is right for every person. There are horror stories about pretty much any medication on the market.
But if you're at the end of your rope like I was, it really is worth a discussion with your dermatologist. Changed my life! Good luck everyone!
Today I take my last Accutane pills. I've been on the medication for 6 months (40 mg a day for two months, 50 mg a day for four months). The generic brand I took was Amnesteem. Before taking the drug I was pretty scared but having suffered from acne for over 10 years on a consistent basis I was at my wits end. I read tons of reviews before taking the plunge and promised I'd write a review when I was done to help anyone else. It's scary, no lie. No one wants to have lifelong horrible bowel side effects or joint pain. But I think overall if you lead a healthy lifestyle and take the proper dosage according to your weight you should be fine. All medications out there have side effects you just have to decide how important clear skin is to you.
For me, I knew I was sick of the struggle. Of course I had good days where I was like "Maybe I'm finally outgrowing it!" and then the next day I'd have a new pimple. Acne kind of sends you on this emotional roller coaster and no one understands if they haven't experienced it on a daily basis. (I hate when someone who never gets acne complains about having one tiny pimple. I "figuratively" want to punch them in the face.)
My acne throughout the years has been a variety. The worst is the ones that are so far under the skin you can't pop them. If you do they scar you for life and if you don't they take a month to go away and still leave you with a mark. There is no winning when it comes to acne.
So after trying a lot of other things, including peroxide, Differin, Tretinoin cream, Oxy, Doxycycline, Nature's Cure, and Proactive (worked at first then made my face worse), I went to a hormone doctor. She recommended Accutane and said she had even been on it in college. I told her my fears and how a prior dermatologists had warned me against it, but she encouraged me that the side effects were minimal. She was right. (She also had put me on birth control to see if that would help...it didn't.)
Side effects I endured were dry lips, a very dry nose that led to my nose bleeding, and some dry skin. My dry skin was very minimal which I was worried meant it wasn't working but my dermatologist assured me I was just lucky. I also had the occasional joint pain at my hip but it was livable.
For most with pretty bad and consistent acne you will have scarring and red marks, but supposedly those start to heal after the course is done and even though they aren't pretty, they're better than the alternative of having more acne, which in the end will only leave you with more scarring.
You've probably heard about the initial really bad breakout. Mine wasn't too bad and only occurred on my forehead. Other users are right too, it really takes until the fourth month to see total clearance.
Right now I'm proud to say I am completely clear. I really hope it stays that way. I can live with the occasional normal person breakout but I don't want to have to go back to how it was. If I do that will be very unfortunate, but I still will not regret my decision to go on Accutane. At least I can say I tried and won't have to wonder "what if" if in ten years I still have acne.
There is no need to wash your hair more than 2 times a week, unless it is smelly, because it will hardly get oily.
Cetaphil is a good moisturizing cream.
Cetaphil Gentle Skin Cleanser is great to wash your face with. I'd try to minimize washing to once or twice a day so your skin is not more prone to dryness.
Aquaphor Healing Ointment is great for the lips and can also be used on the skin, but note that it does not rub in well and may leave your face looking greasy.
Dr. Dan's Cortibalm lip balm works wonders and was specifically made for those taking on the Accutane journey.
Drink lots of water. ( I drink around 6 bottles a day)
Stay away from alcohol.
I also recommend going to a dermatologist you trust and has good reviews. The one I went to was not very thorough and the staff never seemed to know what they were doing. Go somewhere that really wants to help you and will make the process easier instead of harder especially since you have to see them once a month for every month you're on the pills and if you're a girl they have to take a pregnancy test at their office. The process is tedious and you want to make sure you go to a doctor who knows what they are doing and has your best interest at heart.
Last but not least, stay positive and know that you deserve the right to not have to worry about waking up in the morning and looking in the mirror, scared as to what new spot you might find.
Hi, I have been on isotretinoin for 5 months now and it really made a difference. In the beginning my face was just COVERED in pimples and it hurt. Me and my doctor tried many things;Tretinoin , Doxycycline, Tazorac, Keflex and Benzoyl Peroxide. Nothing worked, so my doctor ( Dr.Cernik ) said she had two more options either another anti-biotic or Accutane, So I choose Accutane because i was through with anti-biotics they gave me terrible stomach cramps. So she prescribed the Accutane and I started with 30mg once a day, for the first couple Days I ha the absolute worst stomach pain i had ever experienced, also some insomnia but then it was over. I went back to the Doctor 1 month later and she told me to take 2x30mg a day. That time it was fine. by this time I am experiencing some acne relief. by month 4 1/2 I was completely clear i was taking 2X40mg a day then and ever since have not had any trouble. Tottaly worth a shot
I have had acne since I was 13.. finally at 18.. after trying everything I tired Accutane. I had bad cystic acne and I saw results in weeks. Only bad thing is how dry you get. But the good outweighs the good.
Battling with Moderate - Severe acne for over a year and finally cleared it up. When i noticed a new slight breakout i freaked out a bit and started accutane. Worst breakout of my life occurred during my course. I really didnt care too much about the little side effects(dryness everywhere) but apparently a strange side effect within my body was occurring after my 5th month and i had cleared my acne so it wasnt a big deal to stop the course. Acne was gone but accutane left alot of red marks and hyperpigmentation (NO Scars though). I did start to recieve acne again probably 3 months after ending my accutane cycle and now about a year later im struggling with breakouts about as bad as right before first trying accutane. Apparently accutane has a less chance of keeping acne away from mens skin. Ive had bad skin from my [Junior year of high school -> sophomore year of college]
I know this a risky prescription drug but all that talk about the dangers are old stories from over 10 years ago and now doctors are aware of all of that and so I trust the medical today compared to past (obviously). Works wonders, this should be last resort though
I feel stupid for even considering a drug with such horrific "potential effects". As most accutane users can admit however, the depression and social withdrawal that acne causes can lead a person to consider drastic measures. I'm 21 and I got tired of seeing everyone else in college enjoy youth with clear skin so after trying everything (over an 8 year battle) I decided to take the plunge and give accutane a shot. I'm only 100 pounds so the doc put me on 20 MG (10 twice daily). Took one the first night, next day took two. Within an hour of taking my second pill I felt extreme fatigue. The third day I once again took 20 MG in total and my body reacted instantly. Within an hour I had a wicked headache and crazy fatigue. This continued throughout the night with insane chills... Felt just like battling a bad flu. I knew the next morning I was done with accutane. Our bodies are so wise and only react like that if it's got POISON in it. Stop now, I am so thankful I got bad enough side effects early. I've read hundreds of reviews on "ask a patient" and I can't believe the stories I'm hearing. Most of the people giving accutane top ratings are people who have just finished treatment. The rest are people 10, 20 years after (and had only take a couple months of accutane) describing the horrendous effects it's caused them and how painful it's made their lives. If you'd rather trade your health for clear skin than that's your choice. If you think acne sucks, just remember bad health within will only multiply your problems. I'd rather enjoy fantastic sex with a face full of pimples than have clear skin and terrible sexual health for the rest of my life (yes, erectile dysfunction, lack of libido, impotency and lack of natural lubrication in females are all patient reported outcomes from accutane). That's not all either. Some have needed colon surgery and some females have lost so much hair they need wigs now. So tragic. Read some of the reviews on that site and hopefully it'll change your mind. Way more people seem to be affected than the assured "minimal chances". Of course, is it hard for any of them to "prove" so many years later that it was directly caused by accutane. But seriously, is it worth the chance? Natural is the way to go. It can be a long process figuring out what works but the earth provides us with all we need. There's always new things to try so hang in there and forget this drug! I know a lot of people will read this and take it none the less, like I did, but spend the time reading how it's affected people's lives. You will be soo grateful down the road. (Sorry for the rant: I am not a doctor and don't claim to be. Just an honest opinion formed from others' testimonies)