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Beezilla

The Spiro Chronicles

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Recently I was talking to a coworker about something work related when in the middle of my sentence she reached up, pulled my hair back from my face and said with grave concern, “What happened?†Stunned, I said, “I have acne.†That day on my lunch break I walked over to a dermatologist’s office determined to get serious about my face.

Although I’ve just turned 31, my skin refuses to grow up. Since I was 12 or 13, I’ve had acne of varying degrees – mostly mild to moderate – and I, too, have tried myriad products and prescriptions to combat the breakouts. Most have done squat, but I’ve had small successes with some. For example, benzaclin gel is something I’ve used off and on throughout the years, and it’s worked fairly well at keeping my acne in check, but nothing has kept it away.

This is something I thought I could deal with, as my acne is persistent and annoying, but not severe. However, I still have a great deal of active pimples, mostly along my jaw line, and pretty extensive scarring. I guess this is what my coworker was so aghast at – maybe she thought I’d been burned? Then to make matters worse, I’ve been watching fine lines and wrinkles popping up alongside the zits and scars. It seems as though the things I’ve used to aggressively treat my acne have also dried out and further damaged my skin.

Dermatologists have seen it all, and I don’t think mine was nearly as appalled by my face as my coworker was. He mostly noted the scarring and recommended that I start on Tretinoin and Clindamycin. I filled my prescriptions immediately and began taking them on March 29, 2010. It’s now been 2 months, and I really hadn’t seen any marked improvements when I went in last Wednesday for my follow-up appointment. This is when he suggested adding Spironolactone to my regimen.

After reading about Spironolactone and all its possible side effects I was terrified! But I found new hope after reading all the positive reviews on this website and I’ve decided to give it a go. I am chronicling my experience with Spironolactone here in hopes that someone will find it helpful.

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Now that the introductions are out of the way, on to the good stuff. Here’s my routine:

AM: Clindamycin 300 mg

Spironolactone 25 mg

PM: Clindamycin 300 mg

Spironolactone 25 mg

Tretinoin cream .5%

My dermatologist said I can discontinue the Clindamycin when my prescription runs out if I see good results from the Spironolactone. I will have been on that for three months, same as with the Tretinoin. Today is day 5 with Spiro, and the jury is still out. I can say that I felt SOMETHING almost immediately. After the first dose I woke up to a face that felt less inflamed and angry. Yes, I still had bumps along my jawline, but they didn’t feel like they were threatening to erupt into painful lesions like they normally would. They were just there. 5 days in and they’re still there, but dare I say it seems they’re fading? I’ve developed a few new pimples since starting, but nothing major. I’m hoping that the Clindamycin and Tretinoin will help prevent the initial breakout that some have reported on Spiro (I already had a pretty good one back when I started the Tretinoin).

As for side effects, none too huge. I’ve had to pee a little more, and it seems more urgent at times. I’m less hungry, but my stomach feels fine. I’ve lost a couple of pounds, which I’ll take it even if it is just water weight. I’ve had a little mental fuzziness, or maybe just lightheadedness, but only intermittently. No sexual dysfunction to report. My period isn’t due for a little over a week, so we’ll soon see if it’s on time and as expected.

For now, this is all I have to report. Thanks for reading – more updates to come!

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Mixed news to report on day 6:

Good news: I went to visit a friend yesterday, but didn't have time to put on makeup or get pretty first. So as we sat around in a rare moment of facial nakedness, she said she hadn't even realized I wasn't wearing any and that my skin looked good!

Not so good news: Woke up this morning with a brand new zit. It's right under my jawline, as expected, and it's red, slightly swollen, and painful to touch. Er...not that I'm touching it. OK, I'm touching it.

Slightly better news: At work my boss commented that my zits look "flatter, but still red."

I've been anxiously awaiting this decrease in oil that other Spiro users have reported, but haven't seen it yet. Did I mention that my face is seriously greasy? Like on a windy day my hair sticks to my face? Yeah, it's awesome. On the other hand my hair seems to be less greasy and I got away with not washing it for 2 days over the weekend. I'm convinced this is not related to the new zit.

Also, it could be my imagination, but I think my leg hair might be growing more slowly. I've never paid so much attention to all these bodily functions and features. I hope they impress me soon!

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Wow, your coworkers sound worse than Simon Cowell!

The leg hair is definitely from spiro and so is not having to wash it as frequently. They're both a good sign spiro should work for you.

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Day 7: face is still oily, but my feet have become dry...

I'm eager to up my dosage to 100 mg since it seems that's the magic number others have had success with. Trying to be patient and give 50 mg a chance to work, but it's hard!

...and Anti-Em, my coworker means well, I think! At least she didn't tell me to fire my dermatologist! :redface:

Edited by Beezilla

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Day 8: the 2 tiny zits that appeared on my forehead around day 6, but appeared too small to mention, have become noteworthy today! I think this could be a sign of an initial breakout as normally my forehead is clear, and because I did have some issues there when I started Tretinoin. According to my calendar, I'm due for a hormonal flare-up, but this part of my face is normally spared. I'm trying to exercise patience !!!

Edited by Beezilla

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Keep going and good luck! :)

Thanks for the encouragement! I read your log and was sorry to hear of your recent struggles. May we both find success and soon!

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Nothing new to report on Day 9, but seeing as it's Friday, I'm about to find out what happens when you drink on this stuff. ;)

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Nothing new to report on Day 9, but seeing as it's Friday, I'm about to find out what happens when you drink on this stuff. ;)

Answer: You get drunk, same as before. :ninja:

Edited by Beezilla

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Day 10: giving up moisturizer. I'm supposed to use a sunscreen with the Tretinoin, but I've never found a moisturizer that didn't cause breakouts. If anyone is reading this and knows of a good moisturizer that's non-oily and non-medicated, please let me know!

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Day 10: giving up moisturizer. I'm supposed to use a sunscreen with the Tretinoin, but I've never found a moisturizer that didn't cause breakouts. If anyone is reading this and knows of a good moisturizer that's non-oily and non-medicated, please let me know!

Hi there! So, I'm on month 1 of Solodyn (minocycline) and Ziana (clindimycin and tretinoin). So far, everything is exactly the same as before...awful! I am going to my gyn on Wednesday and going on Spiro!

The two moisturizers that I use are non medicated and non-oily (even though they do contain oil...not all oil is bad oil). They are both all natural organic products and the one I use in the morning contains a lot of coconut which is amazing at getting rid of inflammation.

They are:

Coconut

and

Cammomile Rose

I use the latter at night since it is richer but I also used it during the day for sometime without any problems, they also have a version with sunscreen for during the day. The only reason why I use the first during the day is because of its healing properties. A little bit of both go a long way, I suggest just a pea sized amount on a damp face to go on smoother.

Hope that helps...good luck to us all :)

Edited by kkriisttyyy

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Day 10: giving up moisturizer. I'm supposed to use a sunscreen with the Tretinoin, but I've never found a moisturizer that didn't cause breakouts. If anyone is reading this and knows of a good moisturizer that's non-oily and non-medicated, please let me know!

Hey,

I'm new here but have had acne for 28 years. I am 42 now -- so yeah a long time. Truly believe it is hormonal as skin was pretty when on BC before my kids were born. Started Spiro 100 mg on May 1 and experiencing what I figure is the dreaded IB. Can anyone tell me why that happens? Anyway have noticed less oily skin and softer hair so far. The many success stories I've read keep me taking my minty little pills everyday with cautious hopes for the future. I've tried everything short of Accutane which derm suggests but am afraid of it. I also take 200 mg Erythroymycin, don't know how effective it actually is but right now am not going to stop during this IB.

The self-esteem issues related to acne are dreadful - it runs my life - determines who I will see - where I will go. I'll make up excuses to miss functions when I feel my face is not worthy.

Beezilla:

How's your progress. BTW best moisturizer I've ever used is Murad Skin Perfecting Lotion, expensive but so worth it!!

Thanks for listening....

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Hi there! So, I'm on month 1 of Solodyn (minocycline) and Ziana (clindimycin and tretinoin). So far, everything is exactly the same as before...awful! I am going to my gyn on Wednesday and going on Spiro!

How was your appointment, kkriisttyyy? Did you get a prescription for Spiro?

I'm new here but have had acne for 28 years. I am 42 now -- so yeah a long time. Truly believe it is hormonal as skin was pretty when on BC before my kids were born. Started Spiro 100 mg on May 1 and experiencing what I figure is the dreaded IB. Can anyone tell me why that happens? Anyway have noticed less oily skin and softer hair so far. The many success stories I've read keep me taking my minty little pills everyday with cautious hopes for the future. I've tried everything short of Accutane which derm suggests but am afraid of it. I also take 200 mg Erythroymycin, don't know how effective it actually is but right now am not going to stop during this IB.

The self-esteem issues related to acne are dreadful - it runs my life - determines who I will see - where I will go. I'll make up excuses to miss functions when I feel my face is not worthy.

Beezilla:

How's your progress. BTW best moisturizer I've ever used is Murad Skin Perfecting Lotion, expensive but so worth it!!

Thanks for listening....

Hey, westendgirl! Thank you for listening! It scares me that you're having an initial breakout this far in... Did your skin clear up at first? My dermatologist told me that I can stop taking the antibiotic (Clindamycin) if I clear up within the month using Spiro and Tretinoin; I'm not sure the Clindamycin is helping, but I guess it can't hurt too much. As for my progress, well it's day 14 and things are actually looking pretty good! I don't want to jinx myself, but aside from a few persistent bumps under my chin, which appear to be drying (and peeling, ugh), my face really has NO active pimples! Can't believe it!!! I was supposed to get my period yesterday (sorry if that's TMI), so this is prime time for a horrendous breakout. Keeping my fingers crossed...

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Hi there! So, I'm on month 1 of Solodyn (minocycline) and Ziana (clindimycin and tretinoin). So far, everything is exactly the same as before...awful! I am going to my gyn on Wednesday and going on Spiro!

How was your appointment, kkriisttyyy? Did you get a prescription for Spiro?

I'm new here but have had acne for 28 years. I am 42 now -- so yeah a long time. Truly believe it is hormonal as skin was pretty when on BC before my kids were born. Started Spiro 100 mg on May 1 and experiencing what I figure is the dreaded IB. Can anyone tell me why that happens? Anyway have noticed less oily skin and softer hair so far. The many success stories I've read keep me taking my minty little pills everyday with cautious hopes for the future. I've tried everything short of Accutane which derm suggests but am afraid of it. I also take 200 mg Erythroymycin, don't know how effective it actually is but right now am not going to stop during this IB.

The self-esteem issues related to acne are dreadful - it runs my life - determines who I will see - where I will go. I'll make up excuses to miss functions when I feel my face is not worthy.

Beezilla:

How's your progress. BTW best moisturizer I've ever used is Murad Skin Perfecting Lotion, expensive but so worth it!!

Thanks for listening....

Hey, westendgirl! Thank you for listening! It scares me that you're having an initial breakout this far in... Did your skin clear up at first? My dermatologist told me that I can stop taking the antibiotic (Clindamycin) if I clear up within the month using Spiro and Tretinoin; I'm not sure the Clindamycin is helping, but I guess it can't hurt too much. As for my progress, well it's day 14 and things are actually looking pretty good! I don't want to jinx myself, but aside from a few persistent bumps under my chin, which appear to be drying (and peeling, ugh), my face really has NO active pimples! Can't believe it!!! I was supposed to get my period yesterday (sorry if that's TMI), so this is prime time for a horrendous breakout. Keeping my fingers crossed...

Beezilla: Actually I did clear up at first but my period was 2 weeks late (very unusual for me - but I've heard that Spiro can mess with your cycles). So now maybe we've both just TMI'd each other:) Anyway, the breakout was about that same time!! Derm said it usually takes a couple cycles for Spiro to set in, so I am banking on that. Right now things are drying up and the new bumps are small and don't last as long. It does seem that my face will be on the way to clear and then in a matter of hours BUMPS!! Maybe the Spiro takes a while to adjust hormone levels?? Of course I've probably just jinx myself as well!!!! It's summer now and I'd really like to pull my long hair back but right now I use it to cover my jawline - which is my problem area. Keep me posted on your progress, let's hope this works.

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Hi, I've been taking Spiro for a year now and LOVE it! The first couple months were awful. I had a lot of side effects and I was ready to quit, but it was my last hope before getting married so I decided to give it a little longer. Now, I have only an occasional breakout, my hair is thicker and less oily, and I don't have to shave my legs as often. My periods did get a little crazy and in the past 4 or 5 months I have been getting my period twice a month. That's no fun at all, but at least my face is better.

I am a little worried though because I have been suffering from chronic migraines since February and I can't figure out why. I've suffered from migraines my whole life, but never for this long. Right when the migraines started I noticed a lot of the same awful side effects as when I first started the Spiro. I got depressed, extremely moody and I felt as though I was having an extremely bad case of PMS. That's also when I started getting two periods a month. I have been SO happy with the Spironlactone and I don't want the acne to come back, but I'm starting to think that it is causing the unbearable migraines. I just can't figure out what changed. Things were so good from about June to February. I guess I will only know if it's the Spiro causing this problem, if I try getting off it. It's just extremely hard to get off after finally finding a solution for my acne.

Anyone experienced anything like this?

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Hi, I've been taking Spiro for a year now and LOVE it! The first couple months were awful. I had a lot of side effects and I was ready to quit, but it was my last hope before getting married so I decided to give it a little longer. Now, I have only an occasional breakout, my hair is thicker and less oily, and I don't have to shave my legs as often. My periods did get a little crazy and in the past 4 or 5 months I have been getting my period twice a month. That's no fun at all, but at least my face is better.

I am a little worried though because I have been suffering from chronic migraines since February and I can't figure out why. I've suffered from migraines my whole life, but never for this long. Right when the migraines started I noticed a lot of the same awful side effects as when I first started the Spiro. I got depressed, extremely moody and I felt as though I was having an extremely bad case of PMS. That's also when I started getting two periods a month. I have been SO happy with the Spironlactone and I don't want the acne to come back, but I'm starting to think that it is causing the unbearable migraines. I just can't figure out what changed. Things were so good from about June to February. I guess I will only know if it's the Spiro causing this problem, if I try getting off it. It's just extremely hard to get off after finally finding a solution for my acne.

Anyone experienced anything like this?

Man, KCL, that sucks!!! I did a quick google search of "spironolactone" and "migraine," and nothing much came up. I know that headaches can be a side effect, but I'm not sure how (or if) this correlates to an actual migraine headache since I've never suffered from one and I'm really not familiar with its cause or triggers. Have you talked to your doctor about what you're experiencing? I hope you can figure this thing out because, I agree -- this stuff is A-M-A-Z-I-N-G!!!

For an update, it's now day 17, and I'm shocked to be seeing these results this quickly! [TMI warning] Period started yesterday -- sorry, you were warned! Normally, acne would be at its peak, and it's NOT! Far from it!! My face feels smooth and there's not a single inflamed spot on it! Now before you get too excited, my skin is still far from perfect. It has reddened areas from past/healing zits, and there's also scarring, but I didn't expect Spiro to change that. But really, I didn't think it would help with active acne either because nothing else has really ever worked! I am hoping that this is my holy grail!

My husband looked at me like I was nuts when I tried to explain this to him last night (he's never had acne to speak of), but I'd bet money that the people on this forum will understand what I mean:

Normally when I would touch my face, my face felt my hands more than my hands felt my face because it would have bumps, lumps, and areas of soreness. Now when I touch my face (admittedly, more often than I should), I feel it in my hands and not in my face. It's not that my face is numb, I feel something, just not something bad! Soft, normal feeling skin!!!

Edited by Beezilla

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Shit. New zits. One on my jaw, and one under my lip but above my chin, smack dab in the middle. Face, still greasy as hell.

Aside: I wanted to punctuate the above statements with an acne-ridden emoticon, but there's not one... Really?? I think we need one.

Anyway...I probably shouldn't complain about two zits, but damnit!!! Derm appointment in 2 weeks; I'm going to ask to increase my dosage. :acne face:

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Tomorrow it will have been 4 weeks since starting Spiro, and the resuts are mixed so far. I'd say the overall quality of my skin has improved, but I'm still getting some breakouts. Had a particularly nasty one over the weekend: 3 big, red, and painful zits popped up under my chin/jaw, and sadly, they're lingering. My next dermatology appointment is in another week, but I couldn't wait to increase my dosage so I called the doctor's office and asked him to up me to 100 mg daily. Started the new dosage last night and am really hoping this does the trick. Gah!

Also, have lost 5 pounds... No complaints there!

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I'm losing track of how many days it's been -- 39, I think... Had my follow-up appointment with the dermatologist on Wednesday. He said my skin was looking better, but he clucked a little when I told him I had stopped using the Clindamycin when my prescription ran out on Monday. I told him that I figured after 3 months I'd reached maximum benefit from it, and that it didn't really seem to be helping much. He said until my skin is where I want it to be and is under good control, I should continue to use an antibiotic. Doxycycline is what he normally prescribes to his patients (he had only ordered Clindamycin for me because I'd had good results before when using it topically), so he switched me to Doxycycline.

I asked him what he would think about me discontinuing the Tretinoin because I thought it might be exacerbating my acne and making me oilier, but he didn't like that idea, either. He said it's not only good for acne and decreasing oil production, but that it helps with scarring, which is one of my major issues. I asked if I could switch from the cream to the gel (I've always been concerned about the comedogenic ingredients in the cream formula), and he said we could try that since my skin seemed "robust" enough to handle it. Apparently the gel is more drying and irritating to most people, which sounds perfect to me since I always feel so, so, greasy with the cream.

As for the Spironolactone, we agreed to stick with the 100 mg daily (2 25 mg pills in the morning, 2 at night). If after another 6 weeks the results aren't optimal, I can increase to 150 mg, but he said he would never go up to 200 mg. He said it would probably take "2 cycles" to see full benefit.

So far I'm still digging the Spironolactone. I have noticed an overall improvement in the quality of my skin, even if I do break out from time to time. It seems less severe than before, anyhow. The Doxycycline really hurt my stomach the first 2 doses (was sure I was going to throw up, but didn't!) I got used to it after that, and no more issues. With the Tretinoin gel, I just started using it last night (pharmacy screw-ups -- thanks, CVS), so it's early to tell. I was stoked after applying it because it absorbed really quickly and was non-greasy, but I woke up with an oily face just like I did with the cream. We'll see how it goes in the next few days/weeks/months.

All for now...

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Blah. Whatever day this is, my skin looks like hell. Seriously, it looked better on Benzaclin -- even if it made my skin parched and wrinkly. Not sure how long I can keep going with this regimen. My face is super-greasy, covered with tiny bumps (not red, just look like "purging" pores, if that makes any sense), and has a sprinkling of full-on zits. Hormones are in-effect, so maybe my skin will calm down in a week or so, but in the meantime...DAY-UM!!!

:wall:

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I know exactly how you are feeling right now but HANG IN THERE! I'm into my third month and things are GREATLY IMPROVING. Each week I see fewer new zits and they seem to last for only a day or so. The overall appearance of my skin looks better now than it ever has in my life. Went to derm last week, his exact quote was "I see no acne" !!! So don't quit now - I wanted to about 6 weeks in and am VERY GLAD I DID NOT QUIT TAKING IT.....

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I know exactly how you are feeling right now but HANG IN THERE! I'm into my third month and things are GREATLY IMPROVING. Each week I see fewer new zits and they seem to last for only a day or so. The overall appearance of my skin looks better now than it ever has in my life. Went to derm last week, his exact quote was "I see no acne" !!! So don't quit now - I wanted to about 6 weeks in and am VERY GLAD I DID NOT QUIT TAKING IT.....

This is reassuring, but at the same time I have THE BIGGEST ZIT OF MY LIFE! I think it's from my sunglasses -- or possibly the devil -- since it's between my eye and my hairline, right where the "temple arms" rest (I had to google "glasses, parts, ears" to know what to call that). It's a double-edged sword because on one hand they may have caused this behemoth, but on the other hand, they also hide it! Seems like everything that touches my face causes a new one. My skin is such a bitch sometimesall the time.

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Today my face was so jacked that I called my dermatologist's office to request a topical treatment (anything) to use during the day. The latest (and hopefully greatest) prescription is a benzoyl peroxide creamy wash. I'm going to start using it to wash my face in the morning and keep up with the tretinoin at night, in addition to the twice a day oral doxycycline and spironolactone. Losing hope slowly and steadily. It's hard to remain optimistic when the people you see most often volunteer their opinions that whatever you're doing is not working! :boohoo:

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