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UK accutane users - help please!

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Hi :)

I'm considering going to see a derm (made an appointment actually) to see if they will prescribe roaccutane for my mild but very persistent acne. I've had it for at least 10 years and it does not respond to any treatment (antibiotics / topicals / birth control pills e.g. dianette etc).

I'm worried by the cost of treatment - £200 ish for each consultation (I presume monthly), plus tests (I presume monthly), plus prescription. That's HUGE!

My acne is not bad enough to get treatment on the NHS, so as this is my only hope I'm seriously considering it. They are based in London.

Does anyone have any experiences / advice please?

Thanks a lot.

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Hi Rhianna,

I am in exactly the same position as you and I totally empathise with you: I am UK-based and have had persistent acne since my early teens and am now 26 and it's showing no signs of going away. There was probably a stage in my late teens when my acne might have been described as "moderate/severe" but now it would probably be at most moderate to mild. The problem, of course, is that "mild to moderate" acne has much more than a "mild to moderate" effect on your self-esteem and self-image. There's also something about the sheer pesistence of a condition, even a mild one, that grinds you down. I'm sure you've been there so I won't bore you with the symptoms, but its just so bloody frustrating!

Like you, I've tried pretty much everything out there: BP, salicylic acid, glycolic acid, topical retinoids, two different types of laser treatment, vitamin and mineral supplementation and antibiotics. None have produced anything more than a very temporary improvement. So I am also considering whether to go on accutane. When I was in my late teens I was referred by my GP for a dermatologist appointment to assess me for roaccutane, but I was so terrified by the potential side-effects that I didn't go. I wonder, having read around some of the posts here and elsewhere, whether the potential side-effects of roaccutane actually leads to it being under-prescribed in some countries, and in particular the UK. Most GPs seem to regard it as a kind of dermatological nuclear weapon to be deployed in only the most severe cases. I would agree that given the potential risks you should certainly try everything else first. But when everything else isn't working then why shouldn't roaccutane be prescribed, albeit very carefully and under the supervision of a properly-qualified derm? I also have read some interesting research and posts on this site regarding dosing levels which seems to suggest that dosage levels may have been too high in the past and that low doses may be appropriate for mild but persistent acne such as ours.

Anyway, enough of my ramblings. Please let me know how you get on with your derm. You have my support in your quest for clear skin and I wish you the very best of luck.

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Thanks so much for the reply! I'm going to talk it through with my family and also have a doctors appointment next week so I'm going to try and give it one more shot there, and tell them my plans, as I've never talked to them about seriously going to a derm before so they may see I'm serious. I've definitely tried everything going and it's getting worse by the day, so I'd be interested to see if they still turn me away. It seems like we're in a worse position if it's not severe in a way because we end up with limited / no help.

Even if it's expensive, I'm coming around to the idea that I'm not enjoying my life at the moment anyway, so I may as well spend the money on something that may make a huge difference. But I know I'd be mortified if it didn't work. Especially as it's so expensive and I'd be using my savings to pay for it (assuming they will give it to me, but I intend to beg!).

I'm 27 soon and I think that's made me even more depressed about it and determined to find a solution. I'm pretty sure that it's mainly a money related reason which stops doctors prescribing it on the NHS rather than symptom-related. But you'd think there would be some compromise, e.g. pay for prescriptions but they will do your blood tests etc.

I'm currently using a routine of 5% BP / mandelic acid / BP scrub / salicylic toner shipped from Face Reality Acne Clinic in America, but everything seems so much worse at the moment.

Anyway, I'll keep you informed, thanks again for sharing your experiences and good luck to you :)

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