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RonP

Should I try Accutane? Anyone who knows about Accutane, please help

I'm debating whether or not to go on accutane. Here's a brief history on me and my medications. I'd really appreciate it if you'd read, I'm in a tough situation and my long-fought battle with acne must end:

Have tried every antiboitic, including mino, doxy, tetra, amoxicillian, along with the topicals: retin-a, taz, differin, among others. Nothing really seemed to work. My acne has lessened through highschool, but now as a college student it is imperative that this gets cleared up. I'm currently nearing the end of a 4-month run with Tetra and Taz, with improvments, but nonetheless still acne persists. I'd say it's gone from mild to light.

I added Dan's Regimen about 3 weeks ago, and saw some immediate improvements, but plateaued out after a week. I also added fish oil and zinc to my diet. This regimen, tetra, taz, the regimen, fish oil and zinc, has dried out my skin big time, causing me to use moisturize 3-4 times a day, which then causes me to break out. It's a cycle i've seen all before...

Now, if i can establish that Dan's Regimen with fish oil and zinc is no end cure, I then want to talk about accutane. My derm wanted to prescribe it before the tetra run, and i'm sure will be up for it now. The decision's on my part.

So, what (really) do you think of Dans Regimen? I honestly read through 100 of the "success stories" and couldn't believe the effectiveness. Why would anyone try accutane when this is a fool-proof attack on acne!?

Now on to accutane. To be quite frank, i'm absolutely horrified of its side-effects. I've tried every other medication only because i don't want to go blind, develop schizophrenia or fall over dead. So, what is the story with the side effects of accutane? What should i believe?

Heres a curve-ball. I have OCD, and have been treated with many different medications including anti-depressants, anti-psychotics and others. I don't want to get into it, but let's just say i've seen a few psychiatrists. I've been off meds for a year, but can't say that i am well-being. Does this put me at a higher risk for developing a mental disorder as a side effect?

Conclusion...I'd just like answers to these questions:

1. Is Dan's Regimen all it's cracked up to be? After 8 weeks of strict following, will I be completely clear, as noted in the "what to expect" section?

2. What (really) are accutane's side effects? How often does each occur?

3. Will my previous record with mental issues put me at a higher risk for developing more?

4. Is there a lower dose of accutane, or, say, a topical that is nearly as effective with less side-effects?

5. If I chage my current regimen, what do you suggest doing? (anywhere from swapping over-the-counters, to eliminating tetra, to the accutane regimen) I will look into other options, like DIM I just came accross. But, when it comes down to it, It always seems that accutane is the final answer. So, number 5. is just what do you think I should do?

I appreciate your help. Thank you, and God bless.

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i'm currently trying to make an emergency appointment with my doctor because i think accutane has effed up my eyes beyond repair...it's really scary. i didnt really get any other side effects whie taking accutane, but i would say that if you do decide to take it, make sure you are ALWAYS looking for signs of those serious side effects cause i didnt connect the blurred vision to the accutane for about 1-2 months after it started happening

all i can say is, it's definitely a dangerous drug!

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Number 5 will ultimately be up to you. Going on Accutane is definitely not an easy decision. I have had acne problems for 12ish years now (since puberty). I have also tried every OTC and Rx and seemed to be running out of options. In November of 2006 I was getting ready to attend my friend's wedding and I had a major nodular cyst "breakout". I went from a moderately annoying case of acne (while trying to maintain it on Rx topicals), to severe nodular cysts that after oral antibiotics, months of steroids and topicals ... just wasn't getting better. In March 2007 I took my first accutane pill. Since I am of child bearing age I had to go through the waiting period to start and obtain the prescription. The accutane journey was not easy, and definitely had some rough patches. I have OCD and take Zoloft. My dermatologist had a psychologist check in with me during my 10 months of therapy. It almost seemed like a waste of the psych's (and MY) time, but looking back I'm glad I did to have the peace of mind that my mental state was being watched as there is a small percentage of people who become depressed on accutane. The toughest side effects I dealt with related with dryness. I ended up suffering from eczema, chapped lips, dryness ... all those kind of side effects. It sucked ... I complained ... and at the time I thought it would never get better. I learned ways to cope, and found products that would help with the dryness. Because I'm OCD I can't stand aquaphor because it seems sticky on my lips. I ended up buying Neosporin Lip Treatment and LOVING IT! You really have to keep up with the chapstick, or you end up regretting it! Another major annoyance is the monthly bloodtests (more of a time annoyance) and the I-pledge program. Again ... it sucks, but in the end isn't that big of a deal. Through the 10 months people kept commenting on how much better my skin was looking. I had a hard time seeing the difference as I was red from the dryness ... and basically every time I looked in the mirror I had just irritated my face from washing it. I have been off of accutane for a few months. The results are AMAZING! I found a picture the other day of a bad day in the beginning of the treatment ... it is a DISTINCT difference from now! I am having no problems now ... the dryness is gone ... the redness is almost gone ... and my self esteem has gone way UP! I just rambled on and on ... hopefully it makes sense! Before I post ... you have to do what's right for YOU. Accutane is a big commitment ... time, emotionally, physically and $$. It was definitely a rough road ... but in the end I'm very glad I did it!

You can tell it's late and I'm not composing this post in the most articulate manner ... but I did want to say if you decide to take accutane that it was not on my insurance's approved medication list. I did a bit of research and found out that my HMO would approve me for 6 months if I had my doctor fax in a document saying I needed accutane and had tried other therapies. Within 2 hours I had approval (which was way before I could get the script because of the I-pledge program) and ... my co-pay was $15 a month. After 6 months my doctor just resubmitted the request and they approved me for 6 more months.

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Thanks for the post. It helps knowing that Accutane didn't raise up any symptoms of the OCD. I've been reading a lot on this DIM stuff, and even ordered some.

I know Tetra isn't a final solution for me, so there must be a move soon. I just would not be able to cope with being "changed forever" as a side-effect from accutane. Is there any source I can use to find the percentages of those aflicted with side-effects, mostly harsh ones?

Thanks

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The internet can be an awfully scary place. I wouldn't go out there searching for percentages for people afflicted with harsh side effects. Firstly, anyone can post on the internet ... so their statistics might be made-up. Secondly, doctors and Accutane manufacturers would not continue to dispense the medication if it was going to have harsh side-effects in a large percentage of patients. All medications carry the risk of side-effects, even Tylenol. I'm not trying to downplay the side-effects that Accutane does pose ... but in the long run they are minimal. Your skin will definitely be dry ... but that is ultimately what the medication is trying to do; limit oil production. I would sit down with your doctor and discuss your concerns. Ask how many patients are currently on Accutane, in the last year, etc ... and what the side effects were for them.

I know Tetra isn't a final solution for me, so there must be a move soon. I just would not be able to cope with being "changed forever" as a side-effect from accutane. Is there any source I can use to find the percentages of those aflicted with side-effects, mostly harsh ones?

Thanks

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I agree with VaioChick. Don't get overwhelmed by the scary stories or at least take them with a grain of salt. Remember that acne itself can be a cause depression and when you first take accutane it can make you worse, so I believe that accounts for some of the depression or rare suicides that have occurred on it. I have a hard time believing that accutane is the actual cause of the mental issues, in and of itself. I'm not saying it isn't possible but I doubt that it is common at all.

I have been on two courses of accutane over the last 8 years (I am 31) and would probably do another one eventually, if circumstances warrant it. I tend to get pretty bad side effects to medication and sometimes ones that aren't even listed. The worst that I got was the dry, cracked, peeling lips; some red, eczema like patches on my forearms; and isolated joint pain in my heels. All of it was tolerable and subsided when I was done with the course. On the second course, my triglycerides did go a little high towards the end but I was done anyway. I don't regret it, even though I have had to do multiple courses.

Oh, I also have suffered from depression (varying degrees of severity at different times) and occasional bouts of anxiety disorder since I was 18. I have been on antidepressants for the last 9 years and I did not notice any difference in mood on accutane; other than a LIFT in mood as my acne improved.

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When you stopped accutane did all of these side-effects go away? If, say, I notice a blurring in vision, and i stop immediately...will it cease to exist???

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All of the side effects that I had did go away. It took some time for some of them, but after a few months I couldn't complain anymore ;) The most obvious was my dry skin and lips. My redness is still fading, but most of it had to do with the dryness. I did have a few vision problems, but my eye doctor assured me they would go away after my treatment. Mine were more night vision and trouble focusing. Towards the end of my treatment my triglyceride panel was on the high side ... but that went down also. All is back to normal. Actually, things are better now :) It definitely was a hard road, but something I would do again if need be. My skin is clear ... and I have no self esteem issues.

When you stopped accutane did all of these side-effects go away? If, say, I notice a blurring in vision, and i stop immediately...will it cease to exist???

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All of the side effects that I had did go away. It took some time for some of them, but after a few months I couldn't complain anymore ;) The most obvious was my dry skin and lips. My redness is still fading, but most of it had to do with the dryness. I did have a few vision problems, but my eye doctor assured me they would go away after my treatment. Mine were more night vision and trouble focusing. Towards the end of my treatment my triglyceride panel was on the high side ... but that went down also. All is back to normal. Actually, things are better now :) It definitely was a hard road, but something I would do again if need be. My skin is clear ... and I have no self esteem issues.

When you stopped accutane did all of these side-effects go away? If, say, I notice a blurring in vision, and i stop immediately...will it cease to exist???

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I started with 20 mg x 10 days, and then went to 40 mg daily for like 25 days. I'm male, a little bit above 70 kilos (160 pounds).

Lately (the last 5 days) I haven't taken accutane. I'll start again soon, but on to a low dose. Like 2 or 3 20 mg pills each week. I should add I don't really struggle with pimples or cysts my main problem is an inflamed nose with large pores / blackheads / uneven texture. I hope that by sticking with low dose accutane for a long time (at least a year?) I'll improve my nose.

You should read around on "low dose accutane", lots to read about that! Ie. there are reports that lower doses than are tradionally used, have been shown to be effective as well. Anyway, the lower the dose, the less potential for side effects.

I've noticed dry lips (fine by me, my lips don't matter that much to me), dry skin (not really disturbing), dry eyes (that scares me a bit... accutane can cause other side effects in eyes too, so that's one of my main reasons for going to a lower dose). Oh, and I lift weights. That causes damage to the body (which is the point, of course, the principle being stressing the body out so that it grows stronger). I've been worried that accutane will make it more difficult for the body to heal, and if you don't give yourself enough healing time and keep lifting, you might end up doing more damange than you want. So even if I got only normal soreness from lifting (I can't really tell), I started wondering "should I take it more easy?" or "does it normally take that long for that soreness to go away?" etc. I could easily envision that I could permanently damage a tendon or two if this stuff really does affect the body's healing potential to a noticeable degree. So that's my main reason besides the eyes to go lower dose.

TBH accutane hasn't really done much for me yet. But then again, I'm not typical accutane candidate. I did take accutane some years ago when I had back acne.... got rid of that pretty good! As I mentioned I don't struggle with pimps/cysts. Maybe I would if I hadn't taken that accutane years ago? I don't know.

Oh, I've also been really tired while on accutane. But I would probably have been tired anyway because I became depressed in the same period (because I messed up some stuff in my life). Point being it's easy to blame accutane for anything wrong with your life... be careful doing that! Many who use accutane are probably depressed or have the tendency to become depressed because of their skin condition. That goes for me too. Depressive people can be very moody. And unstable. Some go up and down like a jojo. Anyway I don't really know anything about mental side effects of accutane. If it makes you more tired, that in itself might make you more irritated/depressed! So it's a complicated issue.

Accutane potentially making me worse mentally is the least of my worries though. Even though I struggle with depression, anxiety and a small bit of obsessive compulsive behaviour. I just find it hard to believe that accutane will seriously alter my mental state. But that's just my unscientific point of view. I don't know enough about the subject. If it worries you, I think you should research the subject. The only thing I'm sure accutane did to me mentally, was to make me more optimistic! Because I finally got it and I've tried so much else ;) When you've tried a lot of different stuff without good effect, it does become very tempting to try out accutane.

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