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yg's mom

Accutane for early teens?

My daughter is 12. Her acne started a couple of months before she turned 11 and is very aggressive (it spread to her back, chest and neck right about the time she turned 12). It is controlled right now with antibiotics, Tazorac and Benzalclin, but when the antibiotics quit working the derm suggests that she go on Accutane. The derm doesn't want to put her on yet because he's waiting for her hormones to settle down a bit (she's just going through puberty.)

Anyone else out there with this aggressive acne at such a young age? If so, have you gone on Accutane? What were the results (i.e. did it work after one course, two courses, more??) I've read some research that says that if you get severe acne young Accutane is less likely to work after one course. Just trying to see if anyone else was in that situation. I worry about her.

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I have also heard that the younger you go on accutane the more likely it is to return.

I can offer any help with your other questions...

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I guess the thing that makes me worry the most is that she's already - at 12 - on her second antibiotic. She's already resistant to minocyline. Now she's on cephalexin and it is working well, but the derm sounds pretty sure that it won't last for long. She says her goal is for my daughter to make it to 14 or more likely 13 before it quits working.

I don't know how bad her acne would be without the medication because I got her right in to the derm when over the counter stuff wasn't working, but it seems to me that if it starts this early and is on her back, etc. so young that she is going to have to go to Accutane at some point to have any chance at controlling it long term.

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There is much debate going on about wether or not Accutane can inhibit a child's growth when taken at such a young age. Also, since she is very young, her body could react rather adversely to it. This is not the way to go for someone of her age. Also, she does have a high chance of the acne returning. Most likely not as bad though. Most people say after accutane, the acne becomes controlable with mere OTC's. The only real advice I can give you though, is do your research. You are the mother and in the end it's your choice. Alot of the accutane horror stories are exaggerrated or extremely rare. But there is always the chance right?

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Yeah I agree with Atreyu. Accutane has been known to stunt one's growth (predominately just their height because of bone/joint irritation). If she's experiencing this type of acne at such a young age, It's more than likely only going to get worse with time.

Here are some questions to ask yourself:

#1 Should I take the risk with all the side-effects?

#2 Will I monitor her carefully for possible side-effects (eg: headaches etc)

#3 How much do I think acne is going affect her social life?

#4 Is she scarring? Could It get worse?

If you decide for her to go on Accutane, keeping in mind the likeliness of her having a relapse, I would highly suggest that she goes on a low dosage. With a low dose comes less side-effects as well. It's tough being a 12 year old having to moisturize your face + apply chapstick multiple times a day.

I'm assuming she weighs around 90 lbs, so a decent dosage would be around 10mg a day, maybe less. Keep in mind that the longer she takes it, the better (regarding relapse)

Eg:

If she takes 40mg a day for 6months she'll see faster results; however, it's very relapse-prone.

If she takes 10mg a day for 24months (2yrs), the results won't come as quickly, but results will be more prolonged or maybe even permanent because she has a consistent sebaceous level over 2yrs instead of 6months.

Talk to your derm, and don't take my advice to heart...but rather consider it.

P.S. I hope that one day she knowns how fortunate she is to have a mom that cares as much as you do.

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Thanks for all your advice and support. I'm hoping the regimen she's on now will work for a long time, but I'm trying to do a lot of research in the interim so that I'm ready when it quits working (as, being realistic, it sounds like it probably will.)

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Hi - I thought I'd respond because I'm a mom and know how distressing this can be. My daughter started breaking out at age 11 to 12 although it was only on her face. Her back, etc. were not affected and still is not at age 16. The only antibiotic that consistently worked for her was Bactrim. She tried 3 or 4 others. Mino worked too but gave her headaches so she had to quit. We got spectacular results using Bactrim and having regular Micro-Peels with a Bio-Medic aesthetician. She had a peel every two weeks at first and then monthly after that. Not cheap but it was worth it. This bought her a couple of years as we did this from age 13 to 16. Then the combo quit working. She is now on accutane as a last resort. I tell people about the bio-medic peels when I can because it really bought us alot of time and worked great. She was afraid of trying accutane for a long time.

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Thanks Boston 50. How long has your daughter been on accutane? Is she doing ok with it?

You're right - this has been very distressing for me. I don't think it has been too bad for my daughter yet because it hasn't gotten too out of control with the meds she's been on. The body acne and 90% of the facial acne is clear from this antibiotic she's on now, but from what the derm says (and what I read on this and other boards) it sounds like it will get worse and harder to control.

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Accutene at 12 seems like overreacting. People seem to forget acne is normal at that age, it's just not avoidable for some of us. I agree with your dermatologist that you should wait it out for awhile.

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From what you said that the antibiotics control 90%, it is probably best to wait as long as possible imo. To back up what acne_suks said its probably only best to use accutane at this stage if the acne is scarring

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I am 13, almost 14...and I started Accutane 3 months ago since nothing else seems to work. If nothing else works, I'd put her on Accutane - the earlier you take care of it the better!

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