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33. Female. First blood test down. Having major anxiety over this.

I had a course of Accutane 10 years ago, with much success. I was clear up until my first pregnancy 4 years later, but it really wasn't until after I had my second daughter that things really started going downhill fast. I noticed my skin getting back to oily levels I hadn't seen since pre-Accutane, and I was getting a lot more inflamed acne, cysts, etc.

I have tried every topical under the sun. My most recent venture was Aczone and Ziana. Both helped immediately for about 8 weeks, and then, my acne started returning. I was convinced it was my makeup. Nope. Convinced it was my heartburn meds. Who know? Dairy? Whatever. Regardless, my meds should have provided better control.

I wasn't expecting my derm to suggest Accutane, but she did. She mentioned the extreme oily nature of my skin, and how for people like me, fighting acne is an uphill battle because of the awesome environment for p.acnes to flourish in. So, I'd describe my acne as treatment-resistant mild/moderate. Right now I have about 10 activites (5 are large) and a lot of old red marks.

But goodness...the hoops for us ladies. I think it's a major cause of my anxiety. Making sure you got the right space of days between appointments and blood tests and hoping the doc's and iPledge and pharmacy are all on the right page? As of now, my second blood test is on July 31, which is a Friday, and after that, I have seen days to fill my prescription, or I get blocked for 19 days from starting the process over again. So seven days for the blood work to come back, for my doc to enter the results in the system, for me to answer the stupid iPledge 'I won't get knocked up on this crap' questions...and I think, what if there is some bump in the road and I have to wait longer?

I truly understand the desire to prevent birth defects, but some of these hoops seem entirely unnecessary. Especially when I'm 33, have already had two children and am done conceiving. They're essentially assuming I have no responsibility in terms of my fertility. I cannot be trusted to avoid pregnancy, so we all have to go through the same silly system.

How was it for any of you ladies starting out? How long does the blood work usually take to come back?

Looking forward to reading more and posting more.

And my previous experience with Accutane was remarkable. Fast clearing, lasting results, no bad side effects.

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Yeah, I feel sorry for you ladies. For me, 22 male, it was pretty easy to get it started. I called for an appointment monday, got in on tuesday, blood test next saturday (no drinking for me that friday :( ), then start the 16th pending my bloodwork but being young and in shape that should be no problem.

I just hope I get results quickly like you said you did your first time. Mine was never really that bad just enough to be annoying so i always avoided taking accutane since i have a fear of getting a blood test done (i know, its weird). its not so much the pain though because i don't mind getting a shot but the thought of something in my arm taking out blood makes my skin crawl.

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Hi! That ipledge is not fun at all! My derm forgot (or rather her assistant) to put in my first blood work and I had to wait an extra month to start. Not cool at all. I totally understand your frustration. I'm hoping to be able to try to conceive another kid next summer, which should be okay since I'll be done with my course before the holidays. My bloodwork seems to just take a couple of days to get back to the dermatologist. They're really good about letting me know when it's there, so that's nice.

Good luck!

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I'm still like 25 days away from my second blood test, but I've given up on the Aczone and Ziana and returned to Dan's BP.

I should mention that I originally left Dan's BP behind (in an attempt with Philosophy's acne kit) because it was no longer working as well. I was getting deeper cysts on my chin and more inflamed whiteheads there as well.

So I have experience with Dan's BP fading in terms of results.

Still, I've seen much improvement in a week's time, but also 3 (3!) larger pimples on my chin. Just getting rid of the Aczone and Ziana, my skin's oiliness has calmed back down as well.

See? 10 yeas after my first course of accutane and my skin's oil glands are still affected. Good news.

I'm thinking of just stopping the topical, though, as hard as that is. I don't want to clear up too much, lest my derm decide not to go ahead. I've already started the Pill, so I just want to proceed as usual.

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I am not far behind you! I did 1st round of bloodwork yesterday and have 2nd appt. on 8/11 when I will get my script. I handed my husband "the accutane handbook" yesterday and he laughed. At least he acts like it's no big deal. I agree with you all the paperwork, appointments, blood draws, etc. create a lot of the anxiety. Plus, the 30 day hold will make you think about it even more (I wish it was like the good 'ol days, and just get the script and get started). I am hoping for positive results, my acne started after the birth of my second child as well. My friends think I am crazy and should try more topicals - I have tried everything and am simply exhausted from not seeing long lasting results. I know this may not be 'permanent' - but I am hoping for success!!!

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I share your aggravation on the whole having to wait what seems like an eternity just to start Accutane. Like Id70, I'm also right behind you: Having my first pregnancy test on July 6 and now waiting for my second appointment (which I hope is the same day I get my prescription) on Aug 10.

Best of luck!

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Thanks for all your comments, everyone!

My next bloodwork is going to be on July 31st, so I still have a bit to wait. I'm having some trouble with the birth control pill I started.

TMI here, but my husband and I have been using condoms for birth control since the birth of our daughters. I haven't been on hormonal birth control since before I got married.

I don't do well on the pill. I am prone to migraines anyway, but on the pill it's even worse. 7 days in, and I got a migraine that didn't respond to my medication. (I take Maxalt when I get a migraine, and it usually works).

I was doing a little reading up on this, and the general consensus seems to be that the risks of taking the pill when you suffer from migraines outweigh the benefits. It seems that one's stroke risk goes up. It goes up anyway on the pill, but for migraine sufferers, even more.

I just want clear skin, I don't want to have a stroke, you know?

I get so tired of this.

My skin isn't even that bad. It's just tenacious. Currently, I have some smaller ones and two painful cysts. Not that bad, but I'm done. Done with acne. I've had it since I was 11.

Gah! Sorry, just needed to vent, express my frustration and my fears that I'm risking my health and well-being, mostly because of this damn birth control pill.

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I wish I was just on this already.

I wonder if they know how badly they f*ck with people's head by making them wait 30 days. I'm not looking forward to it. I'm dreading it, wondering if I made the right decision, or if my doc has my best interest in mind. (Normally, I would think yes!)

17 more days until my next blood test.

If you can just take a blood test, and ensure you're not pregnant, or even if they made you take two test, two weeks apart, that would be long enough to ensure one wasn't pregnant. 30 days isn't a long time, unless you're had acne for 8030 days, which is approximately how long I've had spots on my face. Let's just get this started.

I just heard an interesting report also, that the iPledge program has not decreased the amount of pregnancies that have happened while on Accutane. Interesting. All these hurdles, and for what?

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I could have written your last post! I think the anticipation is AWFUL!!!! I would be 2 weeks into this and on my way. Now I have sit and question whether I am making the right decision. But, I keep looking at the scars from the breakouts I have had over the last year and I think that if I continue this way my skin will be beyond help. My next appointment isn't until 8/14 - it's taking too long, grrr!

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ld70, thanks for your input.

Compounding my anxiety is the worsening of pain issues I've been having lately, migraines, dizziness, strange migratory pain that is there one minute and gone the next. For the past 2 weeks, I've had this weird pain in my hips, pelvis and lower back. The other night, after I had finally gotten rid of a killer migraine, I woke at 2am feeling like my bladder was on fire. Hello, cystitis!

I'm convinced I have some sort of pain syndrome like fibromyalgia, though I haven't been officially diagnosed. I have a doctor's appointment today to discuss some of this stuff.

But with all of accutane's side effects, do I need the potential worsening of my pain issues? Is my mild/moderate acne worth it?

I washed my face this morning, knowing full well that I don't have half the problem some of the folks on these boards do. I only have a couple of actives right now, but a lot of red marks from past breakouts. My pattern is that I have a few days of wonderful clearing and then I get socked.

Still, I look at some people's photos and think, 'they'd kill for my complexion!'

I'm wondering if my derm will agree to something low dose, just to see how I fare, and then perhaps strengthening it.

Just stopping the Aczone and Ziana, and going back to Dan's BP and some sulfur face wash, I've had some improvement. But I'm still not satisfied.

Thanks for listening, people.

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I definitely agree with you that it's bs to make us women wait 30 days. I was venting to my boyfriend yesterday saying how it's not right that a guy can walk in and pretty much have a prescription after and we have to wait 30 more days (and possibly breaking out more in those 30 days). Pure BS.

Sorry to hear your birth control pill is messing with your migraines. Hope things get better!

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I definitely agree with you that it's bs to make us women wait 30 days. I was venting to my boyfriend yesterday saying how it's not right that a guy can walk in and pretty much have a prescription after and we have to wait 30 more days (and possibly breaking out more in those 30 days). Pure BS.

Sorry to hear your birth control pill is messing with your migraines. Hope things get better!

i do feel for you girls out there, guys do have it better in this aspect.

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We definitely sound like we have a lot in common with our skin condition. Mine is simply huge cysts that pop up now and again (ok, monthly now) and leave destruction after the fact. I tried Aczone and still taking an antibiotic. It didn't make an impact - so much for the newest acne topical. I am back on BP - using clenziderm right now. I am still agonizing over the decision on the accutane. My skin is, of course, clearing right now which makes me think I shouldn't rock the boat. But, I know I will always get cystic breakouts and as my skin ages, it doesn't heal the same. I hope you feel better soon and your derm listens to you!

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ld, do you mind me asking your age? I'm 33...which is one of the reasons I'm all for this second course, and also one of the reasons I'm dreading it. I truly had zero side effects the first time. Just the typical dry skin/lips. I don't remember muscle pain, but I wasn't really active at the time, either.

Now I have two small children, and jog 3-6 times a week. I'm betting I'm going to feel it a bit more this time. That's why I'm dreading it.

But again, 33, and been dealing with acne and oily skin since 11. Time for as good a cure as possible, I think.

Have you done a course of accutane before?

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No problem! I am 39. My acne problems actually started about a year after the birth of my 2nd daughter. I have been seeing the dermatologist for about 4 years now. The last year has been the toughest and my breakouts have increased both in number and size of the lesions. I can go months without a cyst and then have them pop up consistently for a few months. I have managed to get 3 pretty bad scars on my chin in the past year. Tough for a girl who never had to worry about skin problems before.

I have not taken accutane before. I am worried to death about what it will do to my system (fairly sensitive - allergic to most antibiotics) and fear the IB and side effects. My derm (actually the PA) says I am 'psyching' myself out over it - it's her idea since I have been through a ton of antibiotics and topicals and they simply are not working.

My friends say don't do it. My husband thinks it's no big deal (he's taken it several times and had a derm who had him on maintenance for a while). I do know this: the condition of my skin will hold me back from getting out and being myself. I have kids. It's not fair to them. I am super self-conscious when I have a 'volcano' on my chin, upper lip or forehead (chin seems to be the worst for me). They are huge (like 3-5mm) and painful. While my acne is mild in terms of the number of lesions - it's the most damaging kind.

I am not active right now so I can't tell you how it will affect me physically. I used to do a ton of hot yoga, but that is definitely off the table if I choose to take accutane. I don't think my skin would be happy since accutane is supposed to shut down your pores and sweating is huge part of hot yoga.

I hope I am not getting too off topic for you! :D I am simply thinking way too much about this drug since it is mandated that I wait 30 days before it can even be prescribed to me. I think it's a load of BS since I am adult, pay taxes and make my own decisions in this world. I do understand if you are a minor the precautions that should be taken. I would love to stay in touch with you. Keep me posted on your status!

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Hmmm...not sure about the hot yoga. What I understand about Accutane is that is disables the sebaceous glands, but I don't think it'll stop you from sweating. So maybe instead of becoming greasy during the yoga, you'll just be dewy! Wouldn't that be nice?

I'd kill to be dewy!

Also, as far as the IB, my acne during my prior run on Accutane was a bit more severe, definitely moderate, and I recall very little about a vicious breakout. The first few weeks were a little heartbreaking, because I still had acne but my face was soooooooo dry, at least the surface of it was, so it was hard to use cover-up or anything. I still had all these spot and they were all peeling and shedding and just gross.

But I remember one morning waking up and looking in the mirror....no oil! And being used to waking up and looking like someone had sprayed my face with Pam in the middle of the night, this was huge.

I think the more minor the acne, the less the IB. Maybe you'll get a few more zits, and that first month will suck, or maybe you'll start clearing instantly.

Anyway, it will be good for us to follow each other, as 30-somethings!! Only two more weeks til my next blood test.

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Dudes, my skin is practically clear. My derm appointment is in 6 days.

I'm grateful, but is it weird to hope for a bad breakout?

I'm like, skin, why are you cooperating NOW?

Do you think she'd not prescribe? My face usually follows this pattern (i.e. bad breakout, some clearing, bad breakout, etc.), but it hasn't remained this clear for this long. I have some hyperpigmentation and two small actives, but that's it!

And the thing is, I've barely been doing anything to it. Sulfur wash in the AM, and Dan's BP in the PM.

Is this the key? Sigh...

The upshot is that I feel pretty, and with makeup, well, things look good.

Still, I want to 'reset my skin,' as I call Accutane treatment. I've waited the 30 days, and clearly she thought I was severe enough before. I'd feel bad walking into CVS with a script for Accutane and the face I currently have.

Anyway, I love reading all your logs. Hope and humor...that's what gets all of us through.

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Maybe it's a sign your treatment will go smoothly!?! That would be nice.

My skin has also been clearing (don't you love hormonal acne). Only one cyst that I needed to have injected which also gave me the chance to talk to my derm's office again about accutane. She tells me she has 100 patients on it right now and that I am psyching myself out over it. She's right, you know.

I hear you on the 'reset my skin' - I feel like, 'ok, I am clear now - but the breakouts simply won't stop so take the accutane and get it over with'. These are the conversations I have with myself. Grrrr!

I think the main problem is the 30 day waiting period - such a bunch of BS that will make you agonize over the decision. You feel like you can still back out because you haven't yet committed to taking that first pill. It's ridiculous - we would be 1 month into treatment and not doubting whether it's the right choice because we would be in too deep. Oh well. I have 3 weeks before I go back to the derm.

Good luck at your appointment. Keep us all posted!

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I am in complete agreement with the frustrations you have just to get on this stuff. I felt like I had to sign my life away, and wait (not so patiently) for a long time just to take my first pill. I tend to be a bit scatter-brained by nature, and I'm so afraid I'm going to miss an appointment, or forget to do my labs, etc. There's just so much to keep track of.

I am also frustrated with the birth control aspect. I was not on anything prior to taking - so that was another huge part of my life that had to change. I had an IUD put in, which is fine now, but was not that fun in the beginning! And, ironically enough, I've read that cystic acne can be a side effect - go figure! So I had to be on something for a month that would potentially make my face worse, just so I could finally take something that will hopefully make it better.

I completely understand the reasoning behind the whole system, but it does seem a little overboard. I have 3 kids, I know how to be responsible with birth control.

Good luck, and be sure to update about your derm appointment. I hope it goes well. What luck that the one thing that you've probably been wishing for the most (your face clearing), finally happens when you are actually wishing you had a break out!

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One thing that I did not have to consider was BC pills. I have been off for about 4 years since I made my hubby get a vasectomy. Thank goodness it's a primary form of birth control because I don't think I want to go back on hormones - I am getting too old anyway! I think it's too hardcore that if you or your partner are sterilized - you STILL have to wait 30 days. I think a hysterectomy is the only way you can get around the 30 day waiting period.

The PA I see at the derm's office is pretty mellow. I don't think she is tough on prescribing accutane because she sees it as such a life saver. I think it's nice she is not too hard-core and comfortable with the Ipledge program. Accutane was her idea - which surprised me. But, it makes sense since I have the type that doesn't respond to treatment and is scarring. It's just mild to moderate at times (with some months being totally clear). She views it as a cure and has taken it herself. I have been seeing her for 4 years - I would love to never have to see her again!

I'll keep you posted and you do the same!

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Special Agent,

Sounds like things are moving along. I read that you have or are getting your second prescription. I am confused. Do females have to go back and fill out the online questions for the second prescription (after blood work and doctors appointment and before picking up prescription at the pharmacy)? Thank you very much for your reply?

Red

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RedTwo,

This will be the second time I'm on Accutane. The first was nearly 10 years ago.

And I believe women have to answer the questions every time prior to refilling their prescription. It's ridiculous, these hoops.

I had my second round of bloodwork today, so hopefully by Monday or Tuesday I'll be able to fill this thing and finally get started!

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