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Optimistic.

Accutane - one of the biggest decisions of my life thus far

Hey guys, I'm a 19 year old male college student and I've struggled with acne since about age 14. The severity of my acne reached its pinnacle last year during winter when I received massive breakouts on my chin, forehead, shoulders, and back. My dermatologist recommended me to take accutane but I was intimidated by it's potential side effects and decided to take doxycycline and Retin-A. Since I've been taking doxy and retin-a my acne has gotten MUCH better since last winter, however, I'm still breaking out on my chin, forehead, shoulders and back, it's just not nearly as intensely as last year. Anyway, I saw my derm yesterday and of course he recommended accutane again or switching my doxycycline to solodyn (minocycline).

I really want this acne to be cured, however, I'm scared of the potential side effects (lack of concentration, constant fatigue, sleepiness, excessive dryness, and depression). This upcoming semester will probably be one of my hardest semesters in college thus far and I don't know if it would be worth having an impaired concentration and lack of energy throughout the next 5 months. My classes are all bunched together and I'm taking two 3 hour labs every week. I'm wondering if I'll be able to last through my school days without becoming excessively dry. For those of you currently taking accutane, or have taken it previously, how often do you find yourself moisturizing your face and applying lip balm on the most extreme days of dryness? I really don't want my face to be flaking off in the middle of my labs and I don't want to be re-applying lip balm every 10-30 minutes, will this be the case? Also, I'll be seeing the girl that I have a huge crush on a few times a week (including in one of my labs), so I want to be able to maintain a good mood and not be depressed/tired when I'm around her. Also, if any of you have taken Retin-A previously as well as accutane, how does the amount of dryness compare? I find myself having to moisturize with Neutrogina oil-free, water-based moisturizer once a day in the mornings after showers because otherwise my face will feel very tight and look very dry/flakey, Retin-A really does TEAR your face up -- does accutane do the same or worse?

I know this is a long winded post, but this is a very important decision for me. I ultimately want to be done with acne, I want to be able to take my shirt off in the summer and not feel embarrassed, and I want my mood and concentration to remain intact, is this too much to ask? Any feedback or questions that you guys have are greatly accepted, thanks for reading.

:)

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I didn't notice a lot of those side effects you mentioned. This was my first semester and I got straight A's

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I've been on 3 cycles of Accutane and I can tell you that it did not cure my acne. Yes, it got better after each cycle for a few years but always came back. Remember, as of today there is NO cure for acne. I have acne still, after 20 years of being plagued with it. It started in college, my freshman year and today, at the "young" age of 45, I still suffer with acne. The one thing the accutane did do for me was to give me depression. It is awful. And the worse thing is that this horrible side affect of depression, I still get bad, bad, acne. Cystic acne. Maybe since I'm a female, there was more at risk than with males but either way, I now suffer with depression and I didn't before I started Accutane. So that's my comment. Don't know if it helped or hurt? Much success to you.

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I have been on Accutane for about 7 weeks (80mg a day). I have tried everything from diet/holistic/prescriptions and nothing worked. I had a bad initial breakout during the first month on Accutane. I guess I had a lot of "little friends" chillin under my skin that the accutane made come out. Besides that, all the side-effects I have had is definitely chapped lips. Hate to tell you but you will have to apply chapstick (I prefer aquaphor--helps more than anything). The only time I have had real dry skin is when I try to use the cleansers I use to use before the accutane. You have to use a gentle cleanser and moisterize after you wash your face. That's it for side-effects for me, but everyone is different. I have to say...I love not being so oily. It's like I have normal people's skin. I almost wish I could stay on it forever because of that.

Anyway, Goodluck on your decision:)

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i have not had any of those problems that you are worried about. i was worried that i would become depressed, but its quite the opposite!! i am soo much happier on accutane because my skin is SOO much better and i have gained soo much confidence. there was one week that i remember feeling very tired, but thats not necessairly from accutane. the main side effects are dry lips and skin. hell, i'll take dry skin over acne anyday!! just educate yourself about the possible risks and make your own decision. im soo glad i decided to take it! My grades have not suffered at all either. im a mechanical engineering student (with VERY long days of classes, labs, and studying) and my grades were great... so dont let that be a deciding factor. now i can go to study groups without makeup and without being distracted by my skin!! its truly amazing

Retin-A is WAAAAY worse that accutane! retin-a is the worst thing ive ever tried. my skin was very dry and flakey. on accutane, my skin is just slightly dry... not flakey. i only put on moisturizer in the morning and at night. i just carry my Nivea Kiss of Moisture lip balm on me at all times... its the best stuff ive ever tried. its really not as bad as everyone makes it out to be. the side effects are minor in comparison to the torture of acne (and im on a pretty high dose for my weight)

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hey,

all I will say is, its your life -- its your choice. I personally would not suggest anyone to take accutane unless they are truly in dire need for a temporary resolution to their acne problem. As the previous poster noted, accutane is NOT a cure. It never is, and never was for anyone. It is a temporary period where you will be clear. And there is a very high risk for consequences to follow or occur during/after taking accutane. People tend to read these horror stories and say, "ahh well that only happens to a small percentage"...well accutane effects everyone of us who digests it. It effects us all in different ways. Ways that most of us don't even know, understand, or are aware of. But it does change the chemistry of our bodies. But if your acne is severe/moderate, and it truly neglects you from enjoying your life, then YES, I would say accutane might be a possible battle plan. I do believe that accutane does hold its purpose for those who are truly plagued with severe acne problems. But one must understand the risks that they are taking in order to achieve the results they hope for.

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I used to stuggle with acne, and I would keep upping my treatment. Until I figured out the more intense my treatment was the worse my acne was. So now I use a gentle cleanser and drink green tea. And in a week I saw dramatic resuts. Now I'm clear.

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Optimistic, if you're hesitant to take the medicine because of school then please wait until you're done. What's 5 more months, right? Personally, I had a rough time with concentration and memory. I resorted to post-it notes for reminders. Luckily, I took my course during the summer so didn't have to worry about studying. This doesn't happen to everybody, but you'll have to weigh the risk yourself.

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my standpoint will always be against Accutane

The long-term effects of the drug are disastrous. The mechanism of action is not officially known scientifically but from what I have seen everything can be effected, the drug is not selective enough, not only does it target your skin but everything else in your body which is why it is used against cancer. The effects on the brain and central nervous system are the most degenerative for overall wellbeing.

There are hundreds of symptoms that can appear after treatment or much later in life. There is no post Accutane study that truthfully shows how much of a percentage get inflicted with side effects. Accutane is not a rational treatment, ( maybe in only the very SEVERE cases of acne ) plus there are other ways to than to permanently damage your body with a very harmful chemical.

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Amen moreGano.

Chaseryder - mobe of the BEST posts I've read on this forum. Clear, concise and to the point.

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Half of you guys get off from freaking people out about accutane. If acne really affects your life, go on accutane, yes there could be harmful side effects but everything in life has harmful side effects. Accutane does improve your skin and it's the best solution out there. I finished my course 2 months ago and the only side effects I've experienced thus far were dry lips. Judging from the posts on this forum I'm guessing my back will go really soon, my bones will probably all break down and I'll go crazy from the mental side effects.

In either case, I felt like accutane is worth it, even if I experience terrible side effects, I wasn't living a full life with this acne, it's worth the risk since there is always a chance that you'll clear up and never have acne again. For every nay sayer here there are hundreds of people who went on accutane and never dealt with acne again. I see negative posts being made about accutane by the same people. Just put all your thoughts in one post, get it stickied and stop saying the same things over and over guys. There's not enough positivity on this forum, since all the people that got rid of their acne don't come back here.

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Half of you guys get off from freaking people out about accutane. If acne really affects your life, go on accutane, yes there could be harmful side effects but everything in life has harmful side effects. Accutane does improve your skin and it's the best solution out there. I finished my course 2 months ago and the only side effects I've experienced thus far were dry lips. Judging from the posts on this forum I'm guessing my back will go really soon, my bones will probably all break down and I'll go crazy from the mental side effects.

In either case, I felt like accutane is worth it, even if I experience terrible side effects, I wasn't living a full life with this acne, it's worth the risk since there is always a chance that you'll clear up and never have acne again. For every nay sayer here there are hundreds of people who went on accutane and never dealt with acne again. I see negative posts being made about accutane by the same people. Just put all your thoughts in one post, get it stickied and stop saying the same things over and over guys. There's not enough positivity on this forum, since all the people that got rid of their acne don't come back here.

Hey, I have been reading alot of these postings, and just trying to see if there is anyone out there that can relate to my situation and experiences. I am really just looking for some relief and hope that this will get better. I was on Accutane from May 15 to Aug. 30 I had to stop taking the medicine because I started becoming very anxious and having panic attacks for no apparent reason, and I meant his when I say that I had no form of any kind of depression or anxiety before taking the medicine. Since I have gotten off of it the anxiety just continued and seemed to get worse. In Oct. I became very sick to my stomach, didnt have any apetite, no energy, was very anxious all the time I lost 20lbs, in a matter of 2 months. I would cry all the time for no reason, would feel hoplessness, scaredness, suicidal ideation etc. I just went to a therapist 3 weeks ago and was diagnosed with having generalized anxiety and moderate depression, I began a drug called Celexa about 2 weeks ago, and it is just a struggle to get through the day with all of these feelings and thoughts that I have never had before. I am hopeful that this medicine will help return my imbalance back to normal how it was before I began this medicine, I am 100% convinced that this medicine caused these problems and I do feel its unfair, but my main concern is to get back on track I just want my old normal self back. Is there anyone out there that can offer some tips or encouragement or share their personal experience. I just want to know is this permanent damage or can it be fixed? Please help

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Also, did anyone find it difficult to work out while on accutane? I plan on working out at least 3 times a week so I was wondering if accutane would interfered with that.

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I was in the same situation you were, 19 year old male going to school. I also work out 3 days a week and im sorry to tell you but you won't be able to do that anymore. I get stiff back pains in my lower back and pain in my chest when i breathe after doing a set. So you wont be able to work out as much. Going on accutane is more important than working out though, if acne affects your social life then go on it because it works. I've been on it almost 2 months and my pimples are gone, however my face looks worse because i have so many dark deep red marks. Expect 5 months to clear, thats what i've read and seen on this website.

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You can work out while on Accutane. Some people feel more discomfort than others especially in the back or knees (joints). However, the best thing to do is if you want to work out then try it while on accutane. If your back starts giving you problems then stop or reduce the weight or amount of time you spend working out. The pain could also be brought on by lack of warming up before working out and a lack of cooling down/stretching for atleast five minutes at the end. Diet also plays a big part, if you don't eat good foods like meats high in protein then any soreness/pain can be more severe due to the lack of protein in your body that is used to build and repair the muscles.

Just give it a try for yourself and if it's not working out than stop. I've been on 40 mgs for 9 weeks now and I work out six days a week alternating between lifting and cardio and I've experienced pain/soreness in the first week only which was due to being so out of shape. If anything I have more energy and a much better mood; no side effects such as depression.

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One last question (I think). How bad should I expect my initial breakout to be? Can the IB be the worst acne of my life? or is it most likely going to be just some breakouts that aren't out of the ordinary?

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I'm 2.5 months into my course. I am extremely tired, but that could be the anemia I've managed to develop. I had no IB, and once I found a good moisurizing routine, I apply morning and night and I'm good. Chapstick/lip covering is probably ever 10-20 minutes, though. So far, so good. My mother visited for the holidays and was amazed at how clear my skin was -- better than it's been since I was 11 (I'm 31 now).

Read up, talk to your doctor about your concerns. If your derm doesn't listen, it may be worth your time to find another. My first derm, who I saw a few times before starting 'tane, was fabulous and answered every question and concern I had. The new guy (first doc left the state) is an ass. I have had some odd bumps, and I have weird heel pain, but I can work out just fine other than that.

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Has anyone here gone from taking antibiotics (doxycycline, minocycline, etc) and topical creams with mild acne and swiched to accutane? If so, how did it go?

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I used antibiotics and topical creams and went to accutane, no difference after 1 month.

I took it in the middle of my semester, and I barely passed all my classes, I couldnt focus on anything. Now if its the tane or just me, I have no idea, but im more comfortable blaming drugs lol

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I went from using Nicomide (oral not topical) and Benzaclin in addition to some supplements (flaxseed oil, vitamin c, zinc) and I think the transition went really well. All of those things together helped to clear up my skin to the point that I didn't have much active acne by the time I went on Accutane. I continued the Nicomide and supplements and used the Benzaclin for about a week after I started Accutane and I think all of that cut down on my initial breakout which wasn't bad at all and really didn't last that long. As far as side effects go, I have them, they suck, but it really is worth it to have clear skin. It's my second course and I didn't have any lasting side effects from my first one so I wouldn't think it would be any different this time. In the end you really have to do what feels right to you, you're going to be the one experiencing it and your experience could be entirely different from any of ours. Just try not to stress about it too much and like I said, the decision's yours so don't do it if you don't feel comfortable with the potential risks.

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when i was on accutane 2 years ago i had dry skin and lips. concentration didn't seem to be affected at all whatsoever, but everybody is different.

i have a question about the IB

i'm on minocycline (antibiotic) and azelex (topical) and have a derm appointment wednesday... have already taken a pregnancy test and everything in order to go on accutane wed if my derm prescribes it.

should i keep using the azelex and minocycline for the first few weeks im on accutane? i dont want an initial breakout- my birthday is coming up and it would just be pretty bad timing! would using the azelex help to avoid the IB???

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