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Member Since 07 Jan 2012
Offline Last Active Sep 26 2014 07:44 AM

Topics I've Started

A Warning About Antidepressants

12 March 2014 - 06:07 AM

Hello everyone. :)


It's a long time since I posted on here because I've been struggling so much with my mental health recently and am only just regaining any short periods of clarity and stability. But I felt that I had to post about my experiences with my skin and antidepressants in case it stops any of you going through the same horrific experience I did.


Last Easter I finally admitted that I needed help with my depression and started taking antidepressants for the first time in order to make it through my dissertation and finals at uni. The antidepressant I tried first was Sertraline (Zoloft) and it worked quite well on my mood for a couple of months but this improvement was eventually negated by the fact that a month or so in I started to develop severe nodular-cystic acne. I've had acne of the mild/moderate variety since I was 13, but before taking Sertraline I had never experienced anything like this. We're talking so many deep cysts and nodules that my face looked visibly misshapen and the throbbing pain was so severe that it used to keep me awake at night. I didn't leave my house for three months solid because I looked and felt like such a monster.


Needless to say, this event caused my depression to take a turn for the worse again. My GP, not believing me when I said I thought the cystic breakout had been linked to the Sertraline, continued to increase my dose for the next few months. I was on antibiotics and seeing a dermatologist but they wouldn't allow me to take isotretinoin (Accutane) because of the depression and the fact some studies have indicated an increased risk of suicide whilst taking the drug. Personally I think the evidence for that is negligible but perhaps I'll save that for another post.


Anyway, my depression continued to get worse and worse, not helped by the fact that my skin was still breaking out in cysts and I was being denied what I thought was the only treatment that would prevent that from happening. I reached the point of being suicidal and stayed that way for months. I couldn't get any help for my mental health because of waiting lists and the dermatologist wouldn't prescribe isotretinoin unless I was under the care of a mental health professional. I was stuck, and increasingly feeling like there was no way out of my situation other than completing suicide.


Eventually, my GP admitted that the Sertraline wasn't going to work for me. I was becoming increasingly suicidal with every dose increase (and my skin was getting worse) so she switched me to Venlafaxine (Effexor) over the Christmas holidays.


Now, the change wasn't instant, but I could see my skin gradually improving. After a few weeks I got to the point where I no longer broke out in cysts anywhere on my face or body. Sure, I'd get the occasional spot, but never the deep painful stuff and my skin became flat and easy to cover with make-up. I told my GP about the improvements in my skin since changing antidepressant and she looked mildly interested but was clearly still not convinced that my cystic acne had been caused by the Sertraline.


Anyway, my mental health continued to deteriorate for the next two months. Several suicide attempts, being kept in a police cell overnight because in the UK the mental health services are so understaffed that they think it's fine to keep people with severe mental health problems locked up like petty criminals to prevent them killing themselves. We kept increasing the dose of Venlafaxine and added in Quetiapine which helped a bit. Neither of these showed any effect on my skin but as my mood was still not adequately improving my GP decided to add Mirtazapine on top.


BIG MISTAKE. Suddenly my skin that had been almost clear and completely cyst free for the past two months started breaking out in cysts again! Needless to say I took myself off it pronto and went back to my GP. Finally she believed me that certain antidepressants were clearly having an effect on my skin. I've been off the Mirtazapine a week now and my skin has completely calmed down again. I have nothing active, just the usual hyperpigmentation that is slowly fading over time and I can't feel anything else coming up under the surface like I could when I was on the Mirtazapine. I still have a massive way to go on the mental health front, but on the skin front things are really looking up and I would essentially say I've got clear. Odd spot here and there, but nothing I can't deal with and can't be covered with a bit of make-up.


So basically I wanted to write this really long post to warn others about the potential for certain antidepressants to have the side effect of very severe nodular-cystic acne. This was not listed as a side-effect in any of the leaflets, but as it happened to me with two different antidepressants both my GP and my dermatologist now agree that it can't possibly be a coincidence and that it must have been caused by the drugs. I just wanted to make people aware of my experiences so that if you do find your acne being made considerably worse after starting a new antidepressant you don't allow your doctor to just brush your concerns aside and say that because they haven't heard of it before it can't be the drug causing it. It can, and for me it was, and now that I'm back on just the Venlafaxine and the Quetiapine my skin is back to being completely clear again. So please, don't suffer like I did, speak out and make yourself heard if you suspect your antidepressants are worsening your acne. It could save you an enormous amount of trauma in terms of both your skin and your mental health and that's really not worth it when the problem can so easily be solved by switching to another drug.

Anyone Taken Venlafaxine (Effexor)?

07 December 2013 - 04:47 AM

Hey guys,


So I'm about to switch onto Venlafaxine from Sertraline because Sertraline has stopped working for me and I have two questions for any current or former Venlafaxine users out there:


1. Did you notice it having any effect on your skin?


I ask this because I still have this lingering doubt that the Sertraline may have been partly responsible for the severe cystic breakout I had at the beginning of summer (a month or two after I started taking it). However, I also stopped doing this site's regimen at roughly the same time so in all likelihood it was probably the lack of benzoyl peroxide, rather than the presence of Sertraline, added to the stress of finals that did it. I'd still like to know if anyone has experienced any positive, negative, or neutral effects on their skin from taking Venlafaxine though.


2. Was it effective for treating your depression and if you've taken more than one anti-depressant how did it compare to other ones you've taken?


I ask this because when I first started taking Sertraline it was great and I felt pretty good for around two months or so but then it seemed to stop working. We increased the dose twice but that just made it worse and added increasing suicidal thoughts into the mix so my GP thinks it's best to come off it. I'm just really hoping that Venlafaxine will do a better job for me than the Sertraline did because I am desperate for some improvement in my depression and anxiety right now after several months of miserable suicidal hell.


Thanks in advance for any responses! smile.png

How Long Do You Keep Seeing Improvements On Antibiotics?

22 November 2013 - 03:05 PM

Hey guys,


Just thought I'd pose a quick question to you all because my dermatologist would not answer it in my appointment this afternoon. I've been on lymecycline for four and a half months now and have seen some quite dramatic improvements. However, I am still breaking out and I still get the occasional cysts on my forehead and back in particular. He wants me to stay on the antibiotics for another three months but wouldn't answer me when I asked if my skin was likely to actually improve more in that time. I generally go by the three month marker to decide whether a treatment is working and as I'm long past that do you think I've seen all the improvements I'm going to get from antibiotics or is there any chance of my skin improving further?


Thanks in advance!

Treating Hyperpigmentation And Indented Scars On Extremely Sensitive Skin

08 November 2013 - 04:07 AM

Hello everyone smile.png


I'm completely new to the scar and red mark treatments forum because up until now my active acne has been out of control and therefore my main priority. The treatment plan I'm on at the moment means that I now have probably three actives at most and some of the time I'm completely clear of active acne which is a great improvement for me.


But I have such a ludicrous amount of hyperpigmentation, as well as what look like some indented scars forming, so it still looks like I have a face full of acne even though I don't. The hyperpigmentation has faded a lot in the areas where the active acne came under control earliest, but my face is still covered in it so I am desperate for it to fade quicker and I'd also love to be able to do something to prevent the indented scars from getting any worse because the skin texture on my forehead is just horrible. However, my skin is really sensitive and cannot tolerate physical or chemical exfoliators and aloe vera made me break out really badly when I tried using that. I'm also still using Epiduo to control the active acne, so anything else I use has to be really gentle so as not to interfere with that.


So my question is, do any of you lovely people know of anything that might help to fade these horrible red marks and/or prevent the indented scars getting worse whilst causing the absolute minimal irritation for my sensitive, breakout prone and Epiduo treated skin?


Massive thanks in advance to anyone who can help me with this conundrum! smile.png