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My Accutane Journey

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Hi, my name is Brian. I have had moderate acne on my face and shoulders, and mild acne on my chest for about 5 years. I just completed three months of antibiotic treatment. Along with the antibiotic, I used Ziana and Sumadan. I saw significant improvement in these past 3 months, but I was still getting regular breakouts, and decided to ask my dermatologist for Accutane.

What I hope my experience will be like:

-I will be able to keep working out 5 days a week at normal intensity (This is the most important thing for me).

-Accutane will not worsen the very minimal scarring that I currently have on my cheeks.

-I will not have any permanent side effects.

-I will be breakout free at the end of 3 months, and clear at the end of 6 months.

-I will be able to emotionally cope with the initial breakout.

Since I just completed antibiotic treatment, my skin is relatively clear right now, with moderate hyperpigmentation. The hardest part will be coming to terms with the fact that my skin will look much worse than it does now for the next 2-3 months.

I will be on 40mg for the first month, then 80mg for the next 5 months. I plan on using cetaphil moisturizer for my face, lubriderm for my body, and burt's bees chapstick (Is this strong enough? I know people use vaseline but my dermatologist said it should work). I will be taking 5mg of biotin a day to prevent hair loss (no side effects, no possibility of overdose), and I will be drinking a lot of water.

I start treatment on on Sunday (In 3 days) to allow the antibiotic to get out of system.

I will give weekly updates every Sunday.

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Im starting Acuutane soon! Hopefully it works for you... and me haha. I hope I dont get an initial breakout so far no topical or oral medications have worked for me!

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Just don't pick while on Accutane, because it will make your scarring worse. Other than that it seemingly improved mine last time. Just know if you so much as scratch your face wrong you might have a cut that takes 5 months to heal. Your skin will be EXTREMELY slow healing, so be careful. Hopefully your initial break out won't be so bad since you were maintaining with other drugs before.

As far as your lips go, burts bee will probably be fine during the day. I found at night though I liked something stronger so I didn't have to wake up and reapply in the middle of the night. I recommend either aquaphor or vaseline, both do the trick well. And both can help drying and irritability in your nose during the night as well.

And as far as working out, I've been able to manage playing through several competitive soccer teams while on the treatment. It really depends what sort of person you are and how you handle your pain. I find pain doesn't stop me regardless, but still listen to your body! Oh, and the less you think about it...the less the side affects seem to pop up in my mind


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Good luck IS206816!

Thanks for the reply and suggestions myresults. Yea I made a no-picking pact with myself, that has always been a problem for me. I'm glad Accutane went so well for you the first time around, and I wish you luck on your second course. Did you have any permanent side effects the first time around? Accutane can throw whatever it wants at me during these 6 months, but if I have no permanent side effects I will be very very thankful (even though i know they are pretty rare).

I take my first pill tomorrow and I'm a little nervous.

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Good luck IS206816!

Thanks for the reply and suggestions myresults. Yea I made a no-picking pact with myself, that has always been a problem for me. I'm glad Accutane went so well for you the first time around, and I wish you luck on your second course. Did you have any permanent side effects the first time around? Accutane can throw whatever it wants at me during these 6 months, but if I have no permanent side effects I will be very very thankful (even though i know they are pretty rare).

I take my first pill tomorrow and I'm a little nervous.

I don't think I had any permanent side effects. Some did take a few months (probably 6) to disappear. Those were mainly flushing related, my face used to get beat red for no reason. After that though I felt fine. The only thing that I would say was different was that I needed glasses/contacts after my treatment, but I can't say that was directly a result of Accutane as my mother's eyes started to go bad around the age of 18 (the exact time when my did). My eyesight isn't terrible though, and it was well worth it in my opinion.


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Day 1:

My first 40mg pill of Accutane is down.

Side effects I know will happen:

-Chapped lips

-Dry skin

-Dry eyes

-Nosebleeds

Side effects that would be minor inconveniences:

-Mild joint and back pain

-Mild hair loss

-Mild eczema

Side effects that would be major inconveniences:

-Moderate to severe joint pain

-Permanent hair loss

-Temporarily impaired night vision

Side effects that TERRIFY me:

-Erectile dysfunction (very rare)

-Permanent impaired night vision

-Any permanent bowel issues

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I started one month ago, hope your initial breakout isn't as bad as mine:( I am hoping it starts to go soon! Good luck! :)

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Day 2

I'm not gonna lie, I've been stressing really hard about the potential side effects. I hope I don't regret this decision, but I'm going to go through with it.

As far as side effects, I just noticed that my lips felt a little dry.

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Hey :) I just finished month one. I was just as scared as you but the fear kinda subsided now. After I realized I didn't die or anything after my first few pills I wasn't as worried. I'm still a bit worried for the hair loss and any permanent problems.

So far I have dry lips, dry skin, dry hair, a bit of lower back pain, and a couple nose bleeds.

My cheeks were a bit red the first few weeks but it's mostly pink now

Best of luck to you :) may the new year bring us all clearer!

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Mate good luck with your treatment.

As for you being worried about side effects, you should be fine. I'd imagine most of the side effects, which remain after someone's treatment, would be a result of having an allergic reaction (which is rare) or are given a dose that is too high for your body to handle. At 40mg/day you shouldn't have any problems, beside dry skin and other lesser side effects, with the medication. The worst situation would be starting at 60-80mg/day, depending on your weight, and having an allergic reaction.

For the record I started on 20mg/day, for three months, and I then moved up to 40mg/day. I haven't really had any bad side effects, so hopefully you'll be the same. I've just started my fifth month, and I'm seeing really good improvements.

Again good luck and may your skin be clear in no time

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Day 4

So far... no side effects basically. My skin doesn't feel dry, my lipped are a little bit more dry than usual but it's easily fixed with some chapstick. Is it abnormal to not have any side effects after 3 pills?

I broke out on my face but I was due for a breakout anyway since I break out around once a week normally. No initial breakout on my back or chest yet which I'm really happy about.

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It's perfectly normal to not have side effects yet. It takes a while for it to do anything, whether it's clearing, drying, or even the IB. Good luck!

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umm mine probably got triple as bad as what it was at about week 3. Brilliant. haha. Im about 5 weeks in now and im using Epiduo at the same time every second

night and it seems to be doing wonders.. but my face is REALLY red although the dots are going down, super dooper flaky but thats prob the Epiduo.

No other side effects really- keeping up the lip balm and body lotion so is good :) oh and up my nose is really dry! So initial break outs sucks big time but i think its going down now (about 2 weeks after).

oh and as for working out- I go to the gym about 5 times per week and it hasn't affected this one bit! :P

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Day 7

I still have no noticeable side effects. My lips are not dry, my face is not dry. It's actually starting to worry me, I might call my dermatologist to ask him about it.

I did break out pretty badly the first few days, however.

I felt a little weak in the gym one day but that's nothing out of the ordinary.

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you are worried about not having side effects?? I would be happy!! I did not notice any dryness what so ever until about week 4. And still thats only in the places that I put the epiduo, and even that has gone away now! so no drynes at all. so don't stress! it takes a while for it to kick in

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Day 8

Woke up with dry lips today. They were dry periodically throughout the day but it was easily fixed with a little bit of chapstick.

Did legs in the gym today, squatted heavy with no back or knee pain. I actually did experience some pain in my wrist from holding the bar, but it's happened before so I'm not too worried about it.

My face looks pretty good today, I broke out badly the first few days but those are healing. Obviously it's not the tane working yet but it doesn't hurt to not look like crap. My back and chest are pretty clear, and if I don't get an initial breakout at all on my body then I would be really happy.

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Hey IWTKM,

only the common side effects would kick-in during the beginning weeks like dry lips and dry skin, more problematic side effects kick-in later like a month or two into it. this is the rule of thumb. this rule of thumb doesnt apply if you are allergic....so far it doesnt look so. also the rule of thumb of results is one or two months into it depending on the severity of your acne or if you have body acne, that would take longer.

i felt the same way during my first 2 weeks, thats normal to feel that way...i am right now one month into the drug, i weigh 75kg, male, and my dose is 60mg/day....the traditional wisdom to prescribe accutane seems like somewhere between 0.5mg/day/kg to 1mg/day/kg for about 15 to 20 week time period....the doc selects the exact dosage based on his/her experience and the acne severity....only the cumulative dosage matters.....Jamie O is right....the side effects are more related to higher dose...so if you experience any serious side effect at all, your doc will simply lower dosage so your body could handle the drug better on a daily basis.....they wont stop the treatment or anything, unless you are allergic, which is super rare....all it takes is our courage to start the drug and push thru' all the feelings....i think fighting acne is like fighting a war....more of a psychological warfare.....when i was kid, my granddad used to tell me that in a war, it always gets worse before it gets better.....so the first two months would be either worse or nothing happening with regards to the results......

you can follow my log @ the below link, i do weekly logs at the top of the first page, i do detailed daily logs as well, http://www.acne.org/messageboard/index.php/topic/323919-my-isotretinoin-claravis-logs/

also feel free to ask any questions, i think thats how we learn....good luck...

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Day 14

I just hit the 2 week mark. Lips are dry in the morning but they are easily controlled by chapstick and aquaphor throughout the day. I moisturize my face but I have not noticed any dryness. Should I moisturize my arms and shoulders as well? I have noticed some slight lower back pain, just enough to know that I am not imagining it.

Face has still remained relatively clear with the occasional breakout, however, my back has broken out (not too badly). There have been about 5-10 actives on my back over the past 2 or 3 days. I am expecting a breakout on my face pretty soon. My face and my back seem to break out on separate cycles, with my face being more frequent.

Everything is going pretty well, and I am looking forward to the results over the next 2-3 months.

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Day 18

I just had my first nosebleed in more than 5 years. Very short, very little blood, but a nosebleed nonetheless. My lips are getting really dry now. My face is dry, but not uncomfortably so.

Other than that, I have been feeling great ever since I started Accutane.

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Shoulder acne flared up a little bit last week but since then it has been pretty dormant. I heard many people don't have initial breakouts on their back, and that it just gets better and better after they start. I hope I am that lucky.

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Day 20

I just finished my second box of Accutane. Lips are very dry, but still feel fine after I apply aquaphor or chapstick. I developed a little bit of a rash on the back of my hands, which is pretty normal. It has been getting better since I started moisturizing often. My back pain is almost gone now, it just feels a little tight sometimes.

My face is pretty clear right now, and I'm getting ready for another weekly breakout. I have no idea how my back looks because I haven't looked at it in a while.

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