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Accutane - Advice

initial breakout isotretinoin college minocycline tazorac

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#1 ellebelle1031

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Posted 10 December 2013 - 01:09 PM

Hi everybody! This is my first post and I'm hoping I can get some advice before I start my Accutane journey.

First, some backstory:

I started getting acne when I was about 12 (I'm 19 now) and for many years I just "coped" and wore makeup. The volume of my pimples was never that bad, but I would always have one or two really painful cysts on my chin, bad blackheads on my nose and the occasional smaller pimples around my face. It is really only the cysts that concern me, since they are painful and take a long time to heal. I would classify my acne as in between mild and moderate. At the end of junior year I finally decided to see a dermatologist. She prescribed a topical and an antibiotic (she started me on Tazorac, which is one of the strongest topicals because it had been effective for my sister). By fall of senior year, my skin was looking amazing! I thought antibiotics were my savior. Then, predictably, when I went off them, my skin went back to how it was (perhaps even worse, or maybe it just felt worse because I had had so many good months of flawless skin!). I went back to the derm and she prescribed minocycline (which I am still on) and it worked well again, until I tried going off it :/ By this point, my derm proposed I try accutane and after I did a lot of research we set up a treatment plan: I would stay on the mino for fall trimester of college and start accutane when I came home for thanksgiving (my college has trimesters so our winter break runs from Thanksgiving thru January). I was *supposed* to start a week or so ago, but my derm screwed up and forgot to submit the paperwork so I'm going to start January 2nd (only a few days before I go back to college!)

 

Phew. Thanks to anyone who read all of that wink.png So now, my questions

1) How bad do you think my initial breakout will be? My acne has been pretty under control with the antibiotics/topicals and I'm continuing with my 150mg/day of mino and the Tazorac until I start the accutane. I'm really stressed about having to go back to college right as the IB will start, especially since I haven't seen everyone for six weeks!

 

2) Does anyone who has been on accutane while away from home (whether college, boarding school, etc.) have any special advice for me? I'm also worried about the possibility of depression since I haven't known people at college all that long and they may not realize what is/isn't normal for me, mood wise.

 

I'd really appreciate *any* advice anyone has! I'm really nervous but also excited. Hopefully this summer will be the start of my acne free life.

 

 



#2 soulivan7

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Posted 13 December 2013 - 09:48 AM

1) Some people get a bad IB while others don't get one at all but as you said your skin is under control so that can only be a good thing. 

 

2) Take a bottle of water with you everywhere, whether it's to school or going out. You'll need it! 

 

Depression stems from your mindset, try and keep a positive outlook and hang out with your friends. Don't hide away :) Good luck



#3 Kim28

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Posted 13 December 2013 - 10:54 PM

I am having a terrible IB! However, this is my second course. My first one was beautiful and no IB at all, so you never know. But I think the antibiotics will help a lot in avoiding this for you, so don't worry too much. Although I am cranky to have my acne return, Accutane kept me clear for 9 years and is a great drug. Best of luck.



#4 JustMe29

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Posted 13 December 2013 - 11:04 PM

Well I'm 16, and I've been on Accutane for 2 months now. For the first month I took 20 mg twice a day, and now I take 40 mg twice a day. I thought it would be hell, but I've been pretty lucky *knock on wood*. I haven't had IB *knock on wood*, and I haven't really experience too much dryness. Chapped lips are easy to control, however with this current weather it's been difficult, because of all the dry weather.

All in all, it's been good. There's some good days, and some bad days. It's a little random at times, and your blackheads will literally push themselves out. It's interesting to see the process.

Good luck!

#5 goirish

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Posted 14 December 2013 - 02:43 AM

It's pretty ironic how similar my situation is to yours. I am also 19 and just transitioned to college, and in the middle of this change I am dealing with starting up Accutane, so I know how you feel. Also, I would describe my acne very similar to yours, except for your success with antibiotics. For me, I started Amnesteem one month ago from yesterday at 40mg/day.

 

Like you, I was worried about initial breakouts, as it seems online that almost everyone gets them, but I can say that my skin has changed only for the better so far. I know that I am by no means clear of getting an initial breakout, especially with my dose increasing to 80mg now, but I find that researching the likelihood of this happening can be misleading (the posts we see about breakouts come almost solely from those who experience negative effects, as those with no breakout have less to report/complain about). Another thought that I have about the initial breakout is that it can be almost a rewarding feeling to look at your face and see all those spots that will be gone in a few months! I know that only goes so far, but it's nice to know that there is light at the end of the tunnel. But most likely, you won't even have to deal with the initial breakout. And I can confidently say that you probably won't show negative side-effects upon your return to college if it's just a couple days after starting.

 

As for your second question, my parents were a little worried about me being "gone" at college so they can't monitor my personality (as much), but I personally have felt no negative mental effects. In fact, now that I have gotten settled into college, I feel like I have been happier more recently than before I started. Having said that, I have a few friends at college with me from my high school who are just finishing up their treatments, and one guy said he actually does feel generally depressed, so it's different for everyone. As for my situation, I luckily live about 15 minutes from my college (South Bend, Indiana isn't a big place), so I occasionally will see my mom if I need something, and it's nice having my doctor so close.

 

Oh and another thing about moods. About 6 months ago I began taking a medication called Strattera for ADD, and I didn't notice many positive effects after a couple weeks. During this time I also found myself getting angry, annoyed, and generally bothered about tiny things. It got to the point where I almost couldn't drive because I would get severe road rage. Fully aware that I just began taking a new medication that affects the mind, I still had trouble putting 2 and 2 together. I know it isn't really that related to Accutane, but it just shows that drugs can be sneaky and mess with you without knowing. So long as you understand the possible effects of depression and your general mental state, it should be identifiable.

 

All in all, don't be worried about starting this during college. Hopefully the most you will have to worry about is dry skin and lips, and you'll be done before you know it. I'm currently hoping that my liver function checks out so I can get my next box prescribed tomorrow. I don't know if this is a problem for you, but make sure that you are very careful about alcohol consumption, as it can really tax the liver.

 

I apologize for my rambling. It's late and this was my form of procrastinating studying for finals! Best of luck.

 

*Update: Well I spoke too soon! Like I was worried about, my dose increase has made me break out. I have taken three doses of 80mg now and my acne is worse than its been in months! I hope it doesn't keep getting worse but we'll just have to see.


Edited by goirish, 15 December 2013 - 01:25 AM.


#6 ellebelle1031

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Posted 22 December 2013 - 08:53 AM

Thanks to everyone who responded :) I've made some peace with the fact that if an IB happens, it'll just be temporary and a sign that my skin is getting rid of all the junk. And, as side-effects go (considering the risks to your liver, of depression, etc.) an IB could be a lot worse. I'll update this thread once I'm a few weeks in and know how my skin is responding (I start in 10 days!)



#7 Miss Demeanor

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Posted 24 December 2013 - 04:18 PM

Hey. Follow my accutane journey on here. It might be handy for you to keep a mood and symptom journal. Colleges are usually great, I would let them know that you are on the meds and find out who you can go to if you feel change. You will be fine. Eat healthy and pamper yourself while your on it. Just think, clear skin by summertime!!!!!

#8 ellebelle1031

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Posted 14 January 2014 - 02:19 PM

So I just finished my first 10-pack of pills (so 1/3 of the way through the first month) 20 mg/a day. About three days in I got a monster zit on my chin that is still healing, but besides that my skin seems to be doing a lot better. I haven't really had any side effects - my lips are slightly drier (though this could also be because it's winter) and it seems like my post workout soreness hangs around a day longer than typical for me. I'm hoping that this one zit was the extent of my IB (which would be AWESOME) but I'm still bracing for anything else to come to the surface. 






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