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Need advice on whether on not to use isotretinoin for a 12 yr old boy?

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Hi,

I'm new to this community, but my 12 yr old son has had severe acne for over a year now on his face, back and chest and is already getting some scarring which we fear will be permanent. He's tried OTC treatments, as well as benzyl peroxide and minocycline. We finally got an appointment with a dermatologist and she advised that we put him on isotretinoin. We/he can deal with most of the side effects, but the one I'm most terrified about is that he will stop growing in height. I've tried to call the pharmaceutical companies, and they can't seem to tell me how likely or unlikely this would happen. He's only 5 ft. 3" now, and I would hate to see him not grow any further. The doc thinks this is the only way to clear his type of acne. He's been on a low (kiddie) dose of the antibiotics, but he's 130 lbs so maybe we should try a higher (adult) dose first, or perhaps there are other treatments which might work that would prevent us from going on this controversial medicine. Please let me know if anyone has any further advice, or if you have know any 12 years olds who have been on isotretinoin. Thanks so much!!

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Yes, probably will stop growing. Im 26 and only 10mg dosage, but i feel its influence in many aspects. I wouldnt gamble my childs height, and in the long run he would be thankful. Just dig further and dont let it loose, show him that you care, support and etc.

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Moved to the Accutane Posts board.

Giving a kid that young isotretinoin seems a little iffy. I'd highly recommend looking around this board, as there's tons of information on isotretinoin here that may help you make a more educated decision on this matter.

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Maybe discuss options like low dose accutane ?

I would possibly weight the permanent side effects against the permanent affects of not going on accutane. If it was me, I'd personally try pretty much most options on the board here first, but I also would go down that route if everything else has failed and there is a risk of permanent physical or mental problems.

I assume he eats lots of veg and a low GI/GL diet first to try and remove acne, if not, that should be the first port of call before anything else like medication. Have a strong foundation to build the rest on, otherwise its just a band aid.

The danger otherwise is putting them through a heavy dose of isotretinion, and one month after the treatment finishes, you are back at square one when the acne comes back. It will very likely come back unless other fundamental changes are done first.

Ultimately the derm knows the situation better than any of us though!

Edited by wibble
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Personally, I wouldn't let anyone under 17 or 18 take this drug. If you take a look at the complete prescribing information, it says that the effects of this drug are completely unknown on pediatric users.

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I'm trying to imagine what I would do in your situation. I think I'd get a second/third/maybe even fourth opinion from other derms. If it's this bad at twelve and other treatments have failed, I'm terrified for how bad his acne might be later. But I totally understand concerns about putting a child too young on the drug. Get lots of professional advice and opinions, then talk to your son and make a decision together. Good luck to him!

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I'm a 5'7", 125-lb, 23-year-old female and wish somebody would've suggested accutane when my acne first showed up. There were days when I didn't want my own family to see my face, let alone peers at school. Middle school is especially tough. I've never heard of someone who stopped growing because of accutane--I asked my dermatologist about every side effect her office has come across and she never mentioned anything like this. I know that she's had several patients on accutane at the age of 14, but I'm not sure if there are any younger. Unless you found several people who stopped growing as a result of accutane, I would put him on it. At my weight I have not had a difficult time dealing with the side effects of alternating between 40 & 80 mg/day. Of course I know that every person responds differently, but everyone I know who's taken accutane has said they wished they'd taken it long before they finally did.

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12 is a bit young, I'd wait a year and see if antibiotics work. If they don't then start it. I'm 20 years old and just starting it now so, take it from me, it's way better to get it over with sooner rather than later.

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Personally Id say 12 is too young, its a pretty serious drug after all....

If you do go through with it though please look into the possibility of a long low dose course rather than a high dose intensive course.

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12 is way too young. You don't want to stunt his growth and reproductive function. Stick on the antibiotics or try dieting/supplements to improve his acne until he reaches around 18.

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Seems like the community has given you a definite response and I'd have to agree, 12 years old is a little young in my opinion. Accutane is a serious drug and I still suffer from some of the digestive side effects and facial redness. If I had the chance to do it all over I'd skip the accutane and look into the actual problem. Isotretinan (spellcheck? Ill just call it accutane) simply shuts down all oil production in the body. It doesnt actually solve the problem, and in my case my acne came back. Now I'm living with the consequences looking for a more homeopathic solution. For me, diet definitely causes acne. I would put your son on a low glycemic diet immediately and purchase a high quality multivitamin. Just do a quick look at the homeopathic section of acne.org, but remember too many supplements will only tax your system. I would stop him from using over the counter products which contain benzoyl peroxide (bp) as in my opinion it only aggravates skin more (sorry dan), or at least realize that more bp is not always better. Instead I use oil of oregano. You can buy oil of oregano pills, simply break them open and apply them as you would bp. Yes, it will make you smell like oregano and yes while it is applied your skin will have a green tint I feel that it is much gentler on your skin. You MUST find a gentle cleanser. Cleansers with bp or drying ingrdients are a waste. I use a copper soap but I also really like Paula's Choice dry skin cleanser. The thing to remember is that acne is not a skin disease and punishing your skin with acids and oxidizing chemicals are NOT going to solve the problem. Most importantly, I would look into purchasing him a LIVER SUPPORT supplement. Something that contains milkthistle. There's tons of info. on acne.org relating liver health to acne to save you from reading a novel I won't go into it but i can personally attest to its success. If your son has been on antibiotics for a while I would make sure he does not suffer from candida. If he does there are several supplements you can take to get rid of a simple case of candida. For me, acne is directly related to my digestion and thus what I eat. I've recently found that I have low stomach acid and have been taking HCL pills to retrain my body to produce more stomach acid. It's late, im tired, im rambling, hope what i've written is comprehensible. Best of luck, any question please ask.

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I took my first dosage at 12, before there were internet communtities or an active concern about teenager growth on accutane, and still managed to grow to 6''2. Granted not as tall as my 6''4 father but my mother is 5''1 and everyone in her family is short... :surprised:

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I'm a 5'7", 125-lb, 23-year-old female and wish somebody would've suggested accutane when my acne first showed up. There were days when I didn't want my own family to see my face, let alone peers at school. Middle school is especially tough. I've never heard of someone who stopped growing because of accutane--I asked my dermatologist about every side effect her office has come across and she never mentioned anything like this. I know that she's had several patients on accutane at the age of 14, but I'm not sure if there are any younger. Unless you found several people who stopped growing as a result of accutane, I would put him on it. At my weight I have not had a difficult time dealing with the side effects of alternating between 40 & 80 mg/day. Of course I know that every person responds differently, but everyone I know who's taken accutane has said they wished they'd taken it long before they finally did.

Unless the dermatologist is a critic of accutane you won't hear much from them. The fact remains is that not everyone is destined to be 6''0, let alone 6''4, and there are indeed short men out there regardless of medication taken in their teenage years. A common theme you see on accutane boards are people linking everything, from growth of facial hair to a dislike of Pepsi, to accutane. :surprised: But that's probably because anyone who has had a success story with accutane (such as myself from 12 - 22) had no reason to subscribe to accutane broads to encourage others to take the medication. As you stated, most people who have taken accutane don't regret it and go on to live a normal life.

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Absolutely not!

And I'll tell you why.

You'll get people who say it's a miracle because it hasn't given them any side effects.

However there are loads of posts from people like me explaining that they wished they never went on this drug.

The fact that your Son is 12 is mad!

His acne can't be bad at all, and there are so many things to try.

Accutane is only meant for SEVERE CYSTIC acne.

If you want to be responsible for risking your Son's life - he wouldn't die, he'd just be messed up - then go ahead.

It is a HUGE risk and at 12 there is no way in hell you should consider this.

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I think that scars are more easily dealt with in the future than being 5ft3 as an adult. I would hold off on the accutane and keep trying other things. Maybe see a different dermatologist. Good luck. What a tough sitaution for you and your son :(

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This situation is difficult. At 12, he's developing emotionally. That's what I'm worried about. If he loses confidence now, the future will be an uphill battle. Acne has a way of destroying one's confidence. As I face many difficult obstacles in my 20s, I still draw upon the confidence I developed in my teens.

Then again, acne is an issue; height is also an issue. But I'll tell you now. Who knows whether height will be affected by accutane intake? no one knows. not your derm. not the dug company.

My immediate suggestion is this. Go to disease proof and contact dr. fuhrman. He will give you a VERY aggressive but effective dietary modification to combat your son's acne. He had great success with many patients.

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well, besides antibiotics and topicals have you tried something else? I don't know if acne if genetic for him but perhaps try cutting out some common food allergins like milk, sugar, wheat, etc. Perhaps even try an elimination diet (eat only veggies, brown rice, quinoi (simple, non-irritating foods) for 2-3 weeks..see how this effects skin, then add back food items one at a time (ever 5 days or so) it's a pretty intense process but you can always shorten it (go on strict diet for only 10 days and then add a new food every 3 days). It's intense but less so than accutaine. Even just cutting out processed foods and dairy...it's worth a try, accutaine should be an absolute last resort, especially for someone so young. as far as self esteem, kids are mean, especially at that age... but maybe work on building resilience and self-love even with severe acne, and he will be all the better for it. good luck!

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My 13 year old son is on his last month of treatment, after 2 years of trying assorted topicals with the family doctor. The derm never even mentioned growth problems as a side effect, and as far as I can tell he's probably grown an inch or 2 while on the meds. He was dealing with constant break outs from the time he was 10, and we were seeing some self-esteem issues that we didn't want to continue. As a life long acne sufferer myself, I would say the possible risks (that must be carefully considered and monitored of course) are worth the results- his skin looks perfect, dry lips are all he's dealt with. Now he can go to high school and face all the normal teen angst without feeling inferior or ugly every day. We would do it all over again, if we had to.

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I don't think it's right to decide for someone else to use the drug. And 12 year old can't really understand the possible risks (not to mention that it shouldn't be used on someone so young).

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I don't think it's right to decide for someone else to use the drug. And 12 year old can't really understand the possible risks (not to mention that it shouldn't be used on someone so young).

Agreed.

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I don't think it's right to decide for someone else to use the drug. And 12 year old can't really understand the possible risks (not to mention that it shouldn't be used on someone so young).

It's their son...

You're really not gonna hear many success stories on this site, because those people don't hang out on acne forums..

But I have to agree with everyone else. If it was my son, I would say the risks are too high at that age. I'd even try to encourage him to try a massive diet change, like the paleo diet, before I'd put him on Accutane at 12 years old.

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I don't think it's right to decide for someone else to use the drug. And 12 year old can't really understand the possible risks (not to mention that it shouldn't be used on someone so young).

It's their son...

Right. So what? I'm not saying that parents don't have the right to make any important decisions about their son. They obviously do and they should. But deciding on whether he not he should go on accutane is completely than deciding what his bed time should be, or what he can have for dinner. I think It's a decision that someone can only make for his or herself, and again, a 12 year old probably isn't old enough to really understand this decision.

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