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Suffered For 10 Years..time To Take Action! My Accutane Journal

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Hi everyone!

Just discovered this website today as I was doing some Accutane research, and I decided to start a journal to track my experience. My acne began shortly after I hit puberty at age 13 and from what I remember it was mostly papules and some nodules on my face, chest, and back. I first tried Minocycline and some topicals which worked for some time and then stopped. At age 19, I began taking Solodyn, which worked wonders for my skin for a good 3 years. I know I probably shouldn't have taken an antibiotic continuously for an extended period of time like that but I just couldn't imagine myself willingly stopping a drug that was actually working great! Then all of a sudden, my skin stopped responding to it altogether. I don't know if it was due to my beginning a graduate program or if it was due to my body simply getting so used to the drug.

My skin is probably considered combination because it is oily but also dries out pretty badly on occasion (probably due to topical use). The main area of concern for the past decade has been my forehead with some randomly showing up on my chin, cheeks, and recently my neck and behind my ears. Dermatologists have told me I'm one of the lucky ones because the acne on my face doesn't leave scars (even though I pick at them a lot! eusa_doh.gif). However, my upper back has lots of small white scars from acne over the years.

No one else in my family is cursed with the acne gene, and I can still hear my mom comforting me with, "Next year your acne should clear up! You just need to get past these years of crazy hormonal changes." Long story short I am 23 years old, newly engaged, and absolutely desperate for relief from this horrible demon. I sought help from a new dermatologist in my area who recommended accutane (finally) and I've just been counting the minutes until I can start in 10 days!

I tell my family and friends all the time that I feel like I am the only one in the world at my age who is STILL SUFFERING with acne! shrug.gif Does anyone else feel this way?! In two and a half years, I will graduate and become a doctor and I want my patients to be able to take me seriously and not look at me like I'm the one with the problem! eusa_think.gif

SO eusa_pray.gif please please please Accutane I beg you as my last hope...PLEASE WORK FOREVER!

I will try to update on my journey as often as possible! And here are my baseline photos before treatment begins. Wish me luck! wavey.gif

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Good luck Ashley!

Out of interest, have you tried hormonal treatments such as oral contraceptives or spironolactone?

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Good luck to you! Like you, I also had acne for ten years before taking Accutane. I am thirty years old and just completed a five month course. It completely cleared my face and body acne. While I didn't experience any of the severe side effects, I found it to be a difficult drug to take. If you ever have questions or need to vent, feel free to contact me. =)

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Good luck! I just finished my second month of accutane and so far it hasn't been too bad regarding side effects. Hope you get awesome results!

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Hey, thanks for sharing your story on the boards. 23 is a perfect age (in my opinion) to start Accutane, I was almost 23 when I started my five-month course, I think it's way easier to deal with once you're over the high school years. Have a look at my log if you like, might give you some tips and an idea of what to expect (plus I just posted a 'one month on' photo!). Good luck, you're in the right place. :)

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Good luck Ashley!

Out of interest, have you tried hormonal treatments such as oral contraceptives or spironolactone?

Hi biggs881,

I've had the full blood workup for my hormone levels and they said all was fine there so I never considered it. I've also taken oral contraceptives since the acne started and no help there. I've recently switched to a birth control method that gets implanted under the skin on the inside of your arm and still nothing.

Just as a side note, a different doc mentioned to me that I should ask my doctor about taking prednisone or amoxicillin as I start the accutane treatment in order to bypass the initial breakout period. Anyone know anything about that or tried it?

- Ashley

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I've heard of prednis(ol)one or the oral antibiotic erythromycin being used together with Accutane to reduce/minimise the initial breakout.

An acute flare of acne early in a course of isotretinoin is a recognized problem in about 6% cases and is clinically significant in half of these. The physician should inform patients accordingly and provide a fast track follow up should this problem occur as these flares can be very aggressive producing physical and psychological difficulties. Predisposing risk factors for a flare include the presence of macrocomedones and nodules. If a severe flare occurs oral prednisolone should be given in a dose of 0.5–1.0 mg/kg/day over a period of 2–3 weeks, and the dose slowly decreased over the next 6 weeks. The isotretinoin should either be stopped or reduced to a dosage of 0.25 mg/kg/day depending on the severity of the problem. If stopped, the drug can be slowly reintroduced at a dose of 0.25 mg/kg/day, and then increased or decreased as response dictates.

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September 4th....HURRY UP!!! I just want to start this already eusa_whistle.gif Also, I'm pretty sure I'm annoying everyone around me with my countdown sooo shifty.gif

I had two clogged pores on my chin that turned into painful cysts because I just HAD to pick at them ...Why do I do this to myself?! eusa_wall.gif I have a big weekend coming up with family parties and such, and I just can't help but hate being social when my skin looks and feels like this! On a lighter note, my cheeks are nice and clear :) They don't usually give me a problem anyway it's my stupid forehead and chin!

Anyway, I had a question for anyone who feels comfortable answering. My doc said Accutane (even the generics) costs somewhere around $400/month. I think I can swing it but I was wondering if that's what all of you paid or is there a cheaper option that I'm missing? I have insurance so I'm not sure why or how it would be that expensive. To me, clear skin is worth the world but I kinda hope there's a cheaper way out.

8 more days!!!! cheer.gif

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I live in Canada and the benefits package I have through the college I go to doesn't cover accutane and I pay ~$140 for a 30 day supply. Still kind of expensive but thankfully I have a loving mother that helps me out :P

Hopefully it doesn't end up costing you $400/month although it seems like when the possibility of clear skin is in play there is no such thing as too expensive!

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September 9th - Day 1 (Absorica)

Finally got my first month of pills today! After a long wait with the pharmacy and everything, I finally took the first pill tonight. Waiting game from here! Ill keep you posted :D

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Good luck :) and you shouldn't be paying that much with insurance, Ive been paying out of pocket and its been around 400 for a 30 day supply of 80 mg's. The results have been great so far so it's been worth it but I definitely won't miss that extra payment every month. Anyway, I hope your results are quick and your side effects are minor.

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Hi everyone! I've decided to update every 10 days unless anything major happens in between smile.png

So it's day 10 on 30mg of Absorica and so far I've had only a few notable differences. The acne on my face has not changed much at all. However, right before I started my treatment, my back began to magically clear up out of nowhere! Now, there are only a few active ones right in the center of my back, and my shoulders and lower back look great! (Just have to let the drug clear up the scarring.) I have noticed the skin on my face drying out very easily and my lips are beginning to require chapstick every hour - although that is somewhat typical for me around this time of year. The biggest issue I have right now is my darn scalp relentlessly itching and flaking! I also noticed that I'm all-around 'itchier' right now. Is this a normal reaction to the drug - has anyone else experienced this itching/flaking of the scalp in week one?

My hair is pretty thin unfortunately and I'm somewhat worried about the supposed effects of the drug. I currently use the "No-Poo Method" meaning no shampoo just a diluted baking soda mixture followed by diluted vinegar mixture as conditioner.

Well, looking forward to the next 10 days!

Here's what my face is currently looking like. Disregard the crazy hair and whatnot..long day.

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My first side effect was a dry, flakey scalp. Some people recommend anti-dandruff shampoos but they didn't help me. The best thing for me was to use a really thick, intensive conditioner and let it sit on my scalp as long as possible while I washed, shaved, etc. I would often mix in drops of jojoba oil also. I used L'Oreal Power Moisture hair mask as my conditioner much of the time and it worked well for me. It was weird though, I've never had dry hair before and now that I'm off Accutane my hair is producing oil again so it seems a little gross that I was using that much moisturizer in my hair but whatever works, I guess. =) I also had good results with a sulfate free shampoo (Dermorganics is good or L'Oreal makes a sulfate free line now) and with decreasing the frequency of washings. When I would go to my salon, I would also ask for moisturizing treatments sometimes too. Hope that helps! =)

ps--Your acne looks similar to mine, my chin & forehead were also my problem areas, as well as my back. Looks like you're starting to clear some already though, good luck!

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Hi everyone!

Day 20 and a few more side effects to add to the list. There are no real cystic pimples on my face as of right now which makes me a happy camper! Everything is noticeably flatter and the skin on my forehead is beginning to feel very smooth biggrin.png I noticed that the pimples I do get take a lot longer to heal and my skin is so sensitive that just picking off dry skin can lead to big red areas that don't heal very quickly.

New side effects:

Bloody noses! - I've had two this week

Longer healing time

Lips are feeling the same as last week (chapstick every hour)

My hair falls out in the shower more than it was sad.png

Also, I saw a lot of people on here talking about Neutrogena's T-Gel, so I started using it for my itchy scalp and it has completely solved the problem!

--- Hoping to start a higher dose soon so I can see results by November ---

Thanks for the support everyone smile.png

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Day 30 and I think I might be going through the initial breakout stage. Either that or I am just completely stressed from grad school midterms shrug.gif

This past weekend I had a solid 3 days where my skin was just feeling smooth and spot-free and then all of a sudden Monday rolled around and ..BAM! A face full of zits bs.gif .

My doc increased my dose from 30 mg to 60 mg and I started that yesterday. Today my face feels so sensitive that even just washing it and putting lotion on is a struggle. It gets sooo red after I wash it and stings like crazy when I put lotion on, then the redness fades away but it gets suuuuper dry during the day. I hate that I have to put concealer on but then the dryness requires lotion throughout the day, which takes my makeup off with it. So my choices are spots covered and visibly dry flaking skin, or lotioned skin with visible red spots doubt.gif . Gosh.

I shouldn't be complaining..it's supposed to start working soon right? Month 2 is looking hopeful!

I've had no new side effects. Still constantly have blood in my tissue when I blow my nose. Not really a bloodly nose but I guess things are just really dry up there and it bleeds easily? Doc told me to use a saline spray for it. So, same symptoms as my past updates besides this stinging when I wash at night. Maybe I need a gentler cleanser to wash with? We'll see.

Here are my day 30 pictures. Some regression from last week unfortunately sad.png .

Just keep swimming!

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Day 30 and I think I might be going through the initial breakout stage. Either that or I am just completely stressed from grad school midterms shrug.gif

This past weekend I had a solid 3 days where my skin was just feeling smooth and spot-free and then all of a sudden Monday rolled around and ..BAM! A face full of zits bs.gif .

My doc increased my dose from 30 mg to 60 mg and I started that yesterday. Today my face feels so sensitive that even just washing it and putting lotion on is a struggle. It gets sooo red after I wash it and stings like crazy when I put lotion on, then the redness fades away but it gets suuuuper dry during the day. I hate that I have to put concealer on but then the dryness requires lotion throughout the day, which takes my makeup off with it. So my choices are spots covered and visibly dry flaking skin, or lotioned skin with visible red spots doubt.gif . Gosh.

I shouldn't be complaining..it's supposed to start working soon right? Month 2 is looking hopeful!

I've had no new side effects. Still constantly have blood in my tissue when I blow my nose. Not really a bloodly nose but I guess things are just really dry up there and it bleeds easily? Doc told me to use a saline spray for it. So, same symptoms as my past updates besides this stinging when I wash at night. Maybe I need a gentler cleanser to wash with? We'll see.

Here are my day 30 pictures. Some regression from last week unfortunately sad.png .

Just keep swimming!

Doesn't even look that bad for an "initial breakout." Keep us updated.

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Day 43 - Time is going by pretty quickly! I can't believe how well my skin has responded to this drug already! wiggle.gif

I have to tell you all about the amazing new moisturizer I'm using to control the dryness on my face. I went to Whole Foods (organic grocery store) and bought derma e hydrating day creme ($25 - link below), which I apply once at night and once in the morning after cleansing my face. I also solved the problem I was having with all of my harsh facial scrubs and exfoliating cremes by purchasing a super light cleanser called Everyone Face for Everyday Cleanser ($10 - link below). I honestly believe the acne I was experiencing last week was due, at least in part to my skin being so dry and cracking all day long. This regimen significantly reduced the dryness and is helping to calm the area around my jawline.

My face is feeling fabulous and I've noticed a significant reduction in the blackheads on my nose and chin. I have a few pimples clustered on both cheeks that have been there for the past 3 weeks - so hopefully those disappear soon. I also got a few new ones on my chest and back but those can be easily hidden.

As far as side effects, I really only have a problem with my nose being bloody all the time (not true nosebleeds, just that blood is always present). Some positive effects of this drug (aside from clearing skin), is that my hair is never greasy! Amazing boogie.gif And my personal favorite, a more sound sleep at night. I'm not sure if this newly found deep sleep is due to the accutane or what but it sure is nice!

Well friends, patience is virtue eusa_whistle.gif Keep on truckin!

Day Creme:

http://dermae.com/product/217/Hydrating-Day-Cr%C3%A8me-with-Hyaluronic-Acid.html

Cleanser:

http://www.eoproducts.com/Products/Everyone-Face---Cleanse-(8oz)__636874220321.aspx

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Firstly your skin is looking great. It has improved so much since you've started.

As for the nosebleeds, or just blood always being present there, I had the same problem and it is not really an issue now that I am off the drug. My nose is still dry, but at least it does not bleed every time I blow my nose. I used Vaseline on the inside of my nose and it helps with the dryness. I just thought I would mention it since I could not see anything in your blog about you treating the dryness with anything, only had a quick glance so I could have missed it if you are using something.

Also if you had cystic acne on your back that could have interfered with your sleep before, but that's not really important, main thing is your sleeping better.

Good luck with the rest of your course :)

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Your skin looks great! I'm on day 39 and experiencing pretty much the same things. Skin has gotten much better, only a few small breakouts, and the only real side effect for me is the nose problems your having. Hope things keep up!

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Thanks everyone!!!

One new side effect through week 40 is that small bumpy rash on both hands. No itchiness or anything just tiny red bumps on my hands. I read that happened to many others on Accutane so I didn't panic :) Just moisturizing!

wavey.gif

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Day 68 - [60 mg Absorica]

Sorry I haven't posted in a while! I've been super busy with classes. My skin is finally really smooth and feels great! I had a small one pop up on my forehead a few weeks ago and it's still healing because the skin keeps breaking as it's trying to heal so it's just a process. Same with those darn spots on both cheeks that I've had for like a month! Other than that, I'm so happy to say it's looking great!!! I mentioned the rashes on my hands a few weeks ago and that is still there. I've just been moisturizing them like crazy.

Speaking of moisturizing, my doctor was blown away by the condition of my face (in terms of dryness). I previously mentioned the lotion I use in another post, but I just want to emphasize that I only apply once in the morning and once at night and the dryness is controlled all day! It's a product called derma e hydrating day creme and I seriously swear by it. It's amazing biggrin.png

Hope everyone is doing well!

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Wow. You're like...such a great example of the drug working. I sincerely hope you never have to do another round (ahem, as I currently am).

PS. Congrats on the engagement btw!! It's always hard to have someone say you'll grow out of it, but at 23, you're pretty solid in choosing to go on accutane.

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My LOG - ROUND 1
Accutane started May 26, 2008
(40mg - for 4-6 months) - 22 female

Result: Only 6 months of being clear and a long lasting impression that the drug f-ed me up mentally

My LOG - ROUND 2

Clarus started November 1, 2013

(40mg - for 6 months) - 26 female (~96 lb)

Maybe not going on the drug has f-ed me up mentally


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Day 128 - (only 25 days left banana.gif ) - [60 mg Absorica]

Wanted to update with new side effects. My skin is 100% clear of pimples (face, chest, back, everything biggrin.png) so I am thanking my lucky stars every day! I've also been reaping the benefits of grease-free hair every day..so awesome.

However, about 4-5 days ago I started having this horrible pain in my lower back (feels like my spine - not a kidney thing) and it's almost to the point now that it's debilitating. Along with the low back pain, I'm getting this crazy bloating in my stomach every single day no matter what I eat. I feel okay in the morning, but it gradually worsens during the day. By the end of the day, forget it I'm a mess..everything hurts and it is SO hard to sleep through the night.

I just did some research on accutane and gastrointestinal side effects and didn't like what I saw. Many people developed cases of gastroenteritis or inflammatory bowel disease. I'll give these new side effects 5 more days and if they don't resolve on their own, I will head to the doctor. Really hoping it's just a side effect and will go away when I stop taking the drug.

Here are my latest pictures. Hope everyone is noticing their own improvement!

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Hi Ashley, i just read your journal as i 'm on accutane for ten days. I 'm curious to know how all went with you the past few months. What happened with the pains you had? Are you off accutane now?

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