I haven't written in a while, so I wanted to be sure to update with the *good* results since my tendency is to only go on here when I'm feeling down and need support, and that gives a biased impression of my experience with Accutane. I am going into Month 5 of my Accutane course and my skin is completely clear. I cannot BELIEVE I just wrote that. Completely. Clear. I never in a million years thought I could say that. Ok, so I actually had one tiny tiny bump in the last 3 weeks, so it's not 100% clear, but... I'm so happy with my skin. When I went into this, I thought I would be happy if my skin even cleared up 50 or 75%.
However, it has been a very bumpy road! I got through Month 1 with no problems and then Month 2 was miserable - my skin was so, so bad and the dermatologist was surprised it was taking so long to clear up. On top of that, I had some bad side effects - severely dry eyes - so I went down from 60 mg to 45 mg and then to 30 mg/day. Into Month 3, my skin was getting better slooowly but my eyes were unbearable. My dermatologist made me promise to see an eye doctor - I wasn't too happy about that but it ended up being the best decision ever. The eye doctor told me that he sees Accutane patients all the time and gave me this special like, heated eye mask to help with the dryness. I never thought something so simple could almost completely fix the problem. So now I'm on 30 mg/day - it's a low dose, but I'm completely happy with that. Yes, I'll have to be on Accutane a little longer than planned, but I hardly have any side effects at this dose and it's still working. So it's a much better option for me. I was stressed out at first about getting to the right cumulative dose, etc., but my dermatologist said that is really just a guideline from studies and individuals can have different results - she herself was on Accutane for much less than the recommended cumulative dose and it worked for her.
So, the bottom line is that it took into the 4th month for my skin to clear up, but it did! I'm still really nervous about my acne coming back - I've actually had multiple nightmares about it.
So, if anyone reading this is early in their course or deciding about Accutane, these are a few things I wish I had known: first, have faith that it will most likely work, even if it takes 3-4 months. Second, if the side effects are really strong and uncomfortable for you, consider lowering your dose - I know it's tempting to just tough it out and get it over with sooner, but I'm really, really happy at a lower dose. Last, I wish I had known going into this what an expensive process it would be. I am lucky to have insurance that covers Accutane, but there is still a portion I have to pay, plus lab work, all the extra products you need, eye doctor appointment, etc etc. I feel like this has been 100% worth it, but it is something to keep in mind and budget for.
Anyway, I hope this was helpful or encouraging for someone out there... Good luck to everyone