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Accutane

First/worst Side Effects

side effects

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#1 PersnickityChick

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Posted 22 December 2013 - 11:52 AM

I have just begun Absorica, taking 80mg/day, with advisement by my doctor to use my judgement as to whether to use 80mg every day, or to sometimes only take 40mg. I am somewhat concerned about side effects, because when I get a cyst, it is no small matter (some of them are nickle to quarter sized in diameter, a few are even larger), and because I work full time in special education and am also a full time college student. 

 

So, my question is this, for those of you on Accutane, or any of its derivatives, what was the first thing that you noticed while taking it? What was the worst thing about it? And actually, if you could say at about what point in the course the side effect started, that would be helpful as well.

 

Understand, I'm not asking these things because I am paranoid, but because sometimes looking at the worst that people have gone through can put things in perspective for the rest of us.  Also, I think it will help me know when I need to be worried about something, instead of being concerned all the time. I also think that it would help to know that "X" side effect lasted for "Y" days, instead of not having any light at the end of the tunnel.



#2 CWR24

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Posted 22 December 2013 - 12:17 PM

First week or so you wont notice a difference probably then your going to start getting really dry, especially your lips. And youre more than likely going to start to break out more than normal for a couple of weeks then it should start clearing. 80 mg is a pretty high dose which means you are going to get more side effects (mostly dryness) but you will probably clear up a lot faster. 



#3 PersnickityChick

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Posted 22 December 2013 - 12:46 PM

Thank you for replying CWR24.  Were these your worst side effects? Did you have dry lips through the whole process? How long did it take for you to notice any side effects?



#4 Avada Kedavra Acne

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Posted 22 December 2013 - 04:27 PM

I finished about 2 months ago (6 and a half months on 60mg per day)- Dryness was horrible (at its worst the first two months, started around the 2 week mark) 

-At about month 6 i started feeling really odd on the medicine - thats why i didn't finish up my last month fully. I cant describe the feeling- it just felt like i couldnt concentrate or i would randomly feel angry at the oddest times (and being far away at school i couldn't retreat to the comfort of my parents like one usually would at times of personal difficulties)- But since finishing i have felt normal and fine so im thinking that was just the medicine. Also the dryness has not abated- The degree of dryness that i experience now is no where near what is was during the course- its just my skin didnt go back to my some-what oily skin i had pre-meds. 

 

Also I found i was still experiencing break outs during the course and found it was from my moisturizer (it wasnt just the one i was using- i have really sensitive skin and anything that i apply to it wil break it out) + i gave up makeup (meaning foundations or anything to the skin)

 

Also drink water!- lots of it

 

so all in all, Im very happy that i took the medicine

 

 

 

Good luck!  



#5 PersnickityChick

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Posted 23 December 2013 - 05:24 AM

AKA (Love your screen name, BTW), thank you for replying.  This is the kind of information that I was wanting.  It is nice to see at least potential for a time line. 

 

Did you ever find a moisturizer that worked for you? I have very sensitive skin as well, so I've been looking at what people are recommending.  



#6 mfmercado

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Posted 23 December 2013 - 05:33 PM

I just picked up my accutane today. I'm nervous about the side effects. It was nice to come accross this topic and able to read ppl's personal statements and not just rely on the info pamplet.



#7 PersnickityChick

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Posted 27 December 2013 - 01:28 PM

I was really hoping that more people would reply, for this very reason. It would be nice to see real experiences, instead of reading all of the FDA required side effects, and freaking out. 

 

I've had my first side effect, that being very dry, flaky skin, including dry lips, with cracking at the corners (I am keeping lip balm on them, to keep them from getting too painful).  Truly, if this is as bad as it gets, I am not terribly worried about the rest.  That said, I've only been on it for a week, so it very well could get much worse. 



#8 Kim28

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Posted 27 December 2013 - 02:00 PM

Persnickity, it is so hard to tell what your side effects will be other than dry skin and lips, which basically everyone gets. If you read the logs, you will see that people's experience varies so vastly. Some clear up right away, no issues, some not until day 100. Some people get terrible pains and headaches, some not. It's so hard to say. This is my second course, and I have had side effects I never had the first time. Very strange but true.

I will tell you my own experience, though, if it helps you to gauge your own reactions.

My first course (age 25) I had dry lips and ears and that is it. The WHOLE TIME.

My second course (age 35) I have had dry lips and ears, more dry flaky skin, an IB that lasted from day 14 to . . . now (but I think it is starting to let up), and eczema on my hands. Other than the IB, I suspect everything else will be there to the end.

 

I will also tell you in all honesty that I have had a permanent loss of night vision from my first course that never left. When it is dark out, I have to wait in my car for a good five or ten minutes before I can see enough to drive. I also lost hair the first time which took several years to grow back, but wasn't that obvious. This is why Accutane is not for everyone. If you are not willing to accept the possibility of these things, you should not be on it.

 

Hope that helps? Glad to hear things are going well. It seems to me that most people who get some of the worse side effects like headaches and body pain come into it pretty quick, so if you have not had those, maybe you won't. Best of luck.



#9 OilyAcneQueen

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Posted 13 January 2014 - 12:01 PM

I'm currently at the end of my 4th month on Absorica, with 1 more month  prescribed and hopefully month 5 will be my last month.  I'm about 49kg and was on 30mg my first month then 60mg every month after that.  The side effects during the first month included fatigue, some joint pain (especially in knees and lower back), my hair got drier and got all dandruffy/flaky, minor stomach aches after each time I took the Absorica pill for about two weeks (this went away and hasn't come back), and dry lips and skin.  My initial breakout wasn't too bad, it wasn't too much worse than what it would have been without accutane.  My blackheads on my nose and chin literally pushed out all of "gunk" itself and I would find the gunk as white oblong little 'dots' hanging out on the sides of my nose and on my chin and would just wipe them away every now and then.  My very oily skin and hair started to get less oily about halfway through my first month, which was awesome. 

 

During the second month, when my dose was doubled from 30mg to 60mg, I started getting eczema (little red pimply-ish rashes) on the tops of my hands (I never had eczema prior to accutane), my fatigue increased, my joint and muscle pain increased, my nail cuticles stopped growing, my nails chip, crack and flake easily, my nose bleeds, my face and lower arms/tops of hands flush (feel hot and look red) every now and then, I lost some weight, dry hair and flaky scalp continued, and my non-facial skin all over my body got drier, particularly my arms and lower legs.  My lips became even drier and became very chapped about two times in the second and third month to the point that the corners of my lips cracked open as open sores and blisters on my upper lip one of those times (not cold sores though).  Also, my skin got more oily for about 14 days after I started taking the increased 60mg dose, but then my skin got less oily again.  Dry eyes is another common symptom, but I had significant eye oil gland issues before taking Accutane and haven't noticed my eyes getting drier or more blurry from lack of oil, but this could be because my eyes are already so damn dry without Accutane.  All of these still side effects still persist, but I'm managing them.
 

Fast forward a few months to month 4 and I noticed that my face skin got a bit drier (which is awesome for my oily skin), but it's not too dry and isn't flaking much, only when I skip moisturizer.  I've stayed at the high dose of 60mg despite all of the side effects because I want to get done faster and research shows the higher the dose and shorter the course, the less of a change of relapse.

 

One weird potential accutane side effect I got was in the beginning of month 4 when two randomly-appearing very small, indented scars on my cheeks.  I didn't have a lot of acne in month 4 and know for a fact that these scars were not a result of a previous pimple or previous scar.  I did some googling and saw something about fish oil being bad for this type of issue, so I stopped taking fish oil pills and haven't had any new randomly-appearing scars since.  I told my derm about it and it seemed new to her and she didn't think it was because of accutane.  Which is strange because this has never happened to me before taking the accutane.

 

Here are some positive awesome side effects of accutane: 1. my face skin is about 95% clear right now, but it took 4 full months to get this way.  Months 2 and 3 were the worst times for acne, but the breakouts weren't too too bad overall.  2.  My back and chest acne no longer exist and hasn't since the end of the second month.  3. I can currently go a full week without washing my hair and only really need a tiny bit of dry shampoo on day 5 or 6.  My record so far is 8 days without a hair washing, and it didn't look too bad on day 8.  I could barely go 10-12 hours after a hair washing before taking accutane without looking like a dirty greaseball head.  4. My back is no longer oily and feels like normal skin.  5. My face's oil production has decreased significantly and I only see and feel some oiliness at the end of the day on my nose and forehead (t-zone).  My face before accutane was extremely oily.  I'm talking extreme extreme, so this is my most favorite positive side effect of accutane.

 

Here is how I manage my side effects:

 

Eczema: steroid creams prescribed by my dermatologist that helped a bit but hasn't completely cleared it thus far, and have to stop taking after two weeks to avoid steroid side effects.  While I'm both on and off steroid cream use, I found that not washing the tops of my hands (bottoms only) and applying Aveeno Eczema Therapy cream followed by a light coating of Aquaphor several times a day helps the eczema a lot.

 

Dry skin: Right after I get out of the shower, I apply Johnson and Johnson baby oil with shea and cocoa butter while my skin is still wet.  I then dry off and apply Aveeno Eczema Therapy cream everywhere, except on my face.  I tried CeraVe SA renewing lotion and cream for the first 3 months and they were pretty good, but found that Aveeno Eczema Therapy cream is the best.  My face isn't too dry, but I put argan oil under my eyes twice a day and follow up with CeraVe day or night moisturizer, but my favorite is a moisturizer that I had before accutane which is Ole Henriksen African Red Tea See the Difference Serum, which is very moisturizing and not as greasy feeling as CeraVe day face lotion. For skin cleaning, I wash my body with CeraVe or the non-soap Dove sensitive skin body wash.  I wash my face once or twice a day with CeraVe.

 

Severely chapped lips: When my lips got really bad and cracked open and bled, I applied Cortizone maximum strength hydrocortizone cream to the cracked corners and the rest of my lips a few times a day, followed by Aquaphor.  This helped significantly clear the issue after about a day or two of this method.

 

Regular chapped, flaky lips: I've tried Carmex, Vaseline, and Aquaphor and while all of them work pretty well, I found that Aquaphor works the best and prevents the development of the severely chapped lips issue.  I have Aquaphor on my lips at all times, 24/7, 365.  Since my lips flake and peel like crazy, about once a day, sometimes every other day or when needed, I exfoliate my lips by doing one of the following exfoliating methods: 1. using my Neutrogena Microdermabrasion System tool on the low setting on my lips, or: 2. While my lips are wet (ideally after the shower or brushing teeth), I scrub my lips gently with my toothbrush, or: 3. While my lips are wet, scrub them with my hand towel.

 

Fatigue: This is probably my most hated side effect.  Adderall (which I'm already prescribed) and/or caffeine, getting more hours of sleep at night than I usually do, and sometimes exercise, all help.

 

Nails: Nutra Nail applied onto my nails every day to every other day helps prevent chipping and flaking.

 

Joint and muscle pain: stopped exercising strenuously and do lighter workouts as my muscles hurt so much more when I do this than when not on accutane.  Fish oil pills didn't help my joint pain or anything else much, even when taking higher than normal doses.  I started taking a glucosamine supplement and found that this helps ease my joint pain, especially in my knees, but hasn't totally gotten rid of it.  I noticed my joint pain is worse when I don't drink enough water.  So drink up!

 

Dry hair: going as long as I could without washing it helped my dry hair the most.  During months 1-3, I washed it about 2-3 times per week maximum.  When my skin got a bit drier in month 4, I was able to go a week without washing it and utilizing some dry shampoo.  When I do wash it, I use head and shoulders shampoo and conditioner 2 in 1 as my shampoo then follow up with a deep conditioner/conditioning mask (pantene or something like that).  When I started going a week between washings, I noticed my hair was less dry and felt more healthy.  My hair still gets some minor flakes (probably from dryness) sometimes after about 5-6 days post washing, but I manage/get rid of it with manual removal and brushing the flakes out and they seem don't come back for a while.

 

I apologize for this novel-like length and extreme detail of this post but I hope it helps! 


Edited by OilyAcneQueen, 13 January 2014 - 12:34 PM.


#10 sunsetblvd

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Posted 13 January 2014 - 06:36 PM

After my second round of accutane i got hair loss a few days after stopping the drug. Its been 2 and a half months and although its not noticeable the shedding isn't stopping and its actually getting worse. I highly recommend you stop taking this drug at such a high dose. You should NOT be starting at 80mg. The fact that your doctor is so indecisive about your dosage indicates he probably is completely unaware of the long term health effects this drug can have on your health. Just remember, your derm may be knowledgeable on how accutane clears acne but I doubt they know too much about the permanent strain this drug actually has on the human body. If you do get hit with a bad side effect it probably won't be during your treatment, but afterwards.   



#11 OilyAcneQueen

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Posted 15 January 2014 - 09:05 AM

I haven't noticed any hair loss at all and my hair is super long and fine, so if there was any hair loss, I would definitly notice.  I guess it just really depends on the person and individual body chemistry.  Usually your second round of accutane is at a lower dose than your first round so I also don't see the point in advising to stop taking a higher dose versus taking a lower dose.






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