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Orchidsummer47

My Claravis Journey

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Hi Everyone!!

Day 4

My name is Melissa. I just started my 2nd course of Accutane (Claravis 20mg 2x/day). I started on September 21. My first round was 4 years ago but I stopped after 3 months due to my insurance running out. But I'm trying it again and this time I'm finishing regardless if my insurance runs out or not. I stayed clear for a year then it slowly came back over the next 4 years. It just started getting really bad again over the summer where I felt like I was losing control with it. I have moderate persistent acne. I have tried everything under the sun and I can't take birth control pills or any hormonal birth control (which I know can sometimes help with acne) because it makes me way too moody. I am also getting married in April 2012 and I really want clear skin for my wedding. My dermatologist is very optimistic about it. So far the only real side effect is that I have a cold. It started the first day I took the first pill. I felt a weird pressure in my head that ended up turning into a cold with aches and pains. Ah well. One day at a time. Another interesting part of my journey is that I am staying completely sober for the entire 5 months that I am going to be on Claravis in order to give my liver all the help it can get. Not that I drink a lot as it is but over the summer I was drinking almost every weekend. Not getting drunk but we have a boat and spend a lot of time lounging and drinking beer. I also enjoy wine with dinner. But I'm stopping all of that. I haven't gone that long without a drink in forever so that will be interesting to see what that's like. So far I really like this website and I like that everyone can discuss their journeys together. It's nice to have a place to discuss this with everyone and get different viewpoints and stories.

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Best of luck with your course, Melissa! :)

There are at least a few other people here at the moment who are taking their second or perhaps third course, so you're not on your own in having to try it again. I suppose that one good thing might be that you perhaps know what to expect from the first three months having done it before, so that may well make your journey a little easier. Here's hoping. :)

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I've never taken Accutane, although I have asked about it. I attempted to get it on the free health service we have here but my doctor refused to give me a referral for the dermatologist because he said my skin wasn't bad enough and the side effects wouldn't justify the outcome. I'd been on the Org for a while at that point and I had learned that the severity of the acne isn't the only thing to be taken into account. For me, my acne is probably the one constant thing on my mind and I am incredibly insecure about it. Even when it's not that bad, the lack of confidence bothers most aspects of my daily life and the lack of self esteem has really held me back. I also started getting anxious about being around people and was pre-occupied a lot with wondering how they saw me and my acne. Over the years, the anxieties and things cost me a lot of my friendships and it also cost me my job a couple of months ago. So in terms of the impact acne has on my because I've never been strong enough to just shrug it off, I feel that Accutane would be justified, especially as all the antibiotics I have taken over the last thirteen years have only ever caused the acne to come back stronger.

The worst of these things in recent months happened after my doctor last refused to refer me, so I guess I need to find the courage to go back and ask again given my current situation. I think mainly, I'm so scared about whether or not I'll be able to cope with the side effects because I often find that I shy away from things due to my skin, so I'm not sure how well I'd get through a bad initial breakout and side effects.

I'm seeing a therapist at the moment regarding self esteem and confidence, stuff like that, so I'm thinking she may be able to add a bit of weight to my cause so that I can get my doctor to give me a referral for the dermatologist. I'll see...

Even though I'm not currently taking Accutane and haven't taken it before, I do like to keep in touch with all the logs here and offer support if I can. I often think that it's a very brave thing to do because everyone goes into it not knowing how it will play out; they don't know what the breakouts will be llike or what side effects they will have and many of the way of coping with the side effects seem to be trial and error. I like helping if I can and I feel better when helping others, and if whatever support I can give helps someone, it's a win-win situation.

hifive.gif

Edited by PaulH85

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Well I greatly appreciate you responding to my post. I'm sorry your doctor isn't giving you a referral. As far as being scared of the initial breakout and side effects think of it this way: Most people only need to be on it for about 5 months or so, give or take. That time is going to go by anyway regardless if you take Accutane or not. So at some point you will reach the point (5 months later) where you would have been done with it. And at that point the initial breakout and side effects will be a thing of the past. So in the hope that your doctor allows you to have Accutane, keep that in mind. I am also surprised by how uninformed a lot of the posters are on this site. People give other people advice about how it's ok to "get drunk on the weekends on accutane" or that " you can skip a few pills to give your body a break." Both of those things are not ok. I'm sure you know that since you spend time here. I'm sure you see a lot of misinformation going around right? I just don't want anything bad to happen to anyone because they followed the wrong advice.

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Thank you, Melissa. I know you're right, of course, I just need to push myself. Now that I think of it, my doctor first turned it down when I started my last course of antibiotics. That was nine months ago. Had I gone back in there and spoken up, or carried on going back until I got Accutane like I asked, I'd have been near the end of the course by now. That's a slightly depressing thought, to think I could be done with this already! :lol:

I forgot to mention what you said in your first post about not drinking. A lot of people have commented in their logs how perhaps having one drink can feel like they've had quite a lot because they're on Accutane. People probably do it without even thinking. I guess the best thing would be to replace the wine at dinner with water, stay as hydrated as possible. cool.png

There probably is a fair bit of misinformation, but the intentions are good. And there's plenty more sound advice around here. I think a lot of the misinformation perhaps comes from people trying to find their own way, trying to cope with whatever they're using to beat their acne, and just generally looking for answers. My hope is that we all find our way out of it eventually.

:D

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Yea I agree. This drug is very powerful and scary. And I do love how everyone on here tries to help everyone else and offer support. We will all get through it together! In the past I have been turned down when I asked for this medicine. That was not fun. My doctor at the time said my acne wasn't bad enough to warrant getting this powerful drug. But over time it got worse. I think the big thing that pushed my doctor (different one than before) is that I'm getting married in April and I think he felt bad. He knows how much I want clear skin on my wedding day. Sometimes doctors just need to hear the right thing. But if you really want to take this medicine I'm sure getting your therapist involved, like you said earlier, could possibly help you. And yes I have switched to water! :) and tea because I'm really trying to take care of my body. My cold is going away finally. I'm eating healthy and drinking lots of fluid and getting lots of sleep. I have a question, have you heard anything about people exercising on Accutane? Should I continue going to the gym and walking outside? I guess I can until my joints get too sore to continue which seems like it might happen....

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I think the big thing that pushed my doctor (different one than before) is that I'm getting married in April and I think he felt bad. He knows how much I want clear skin on my wedding day. Sometimes doctors just need to hear the right thing. But if you really want to take this medicine I'm sure getting your therapist involved, like you said earlier, could possibly help you.

Edited by PaulH85

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That's a great idea about the exercising. I'll start slowly. Well good luck with your "Operation Time for Tane!" Keep me updated. I'm going to continue to post here every so often to report any new symptoms or thoughts or questions. I'm still not experiencing any side effects such as dryness yet but it's only Day 5. I do feel more thirsty. But that comes and goes. And when I have an itch and I scratch my arm, I tend to continue to feel the scratch even after I'm done. Kind of like what happens when you have a minor sunburn. Do you know what I'm talking about?

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Day 7

Well I'm finishing my first week today. Only about 19 more weeks to go ugh... My face is starting to break out more today. So, I'm guessing this is the start of my IB? Please God I hope it's quick. My head has felt kinda stuffy. Or more like as if I was standing upside down for a while. I walked outside the other day for about 45 minutes and yesterday and today I feel like I have a mild sunburn. So I guess the sun sensitivity is kicking in. My cold is better. Almost gone. I get tired on and off. Randomly all of a sudden I'll get really really tired. I also randomly get super thirsty. Not all the time. My eyes have also started to get kind of dry although I swear it almost seems like my face is more oily than it was before. Maybe it's just in my head because I know the dryness is coming. But I guess that's it so far.

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Day 9

My lips are just starting to get dry and sore today. Also my skin feels a little more dry. I'm still in the IB unfortunately. But I'm optimistic. It's worse than before I started taking Accutane but it doesn't bother me as much because I know now that it's temporary. I'm still not drinking alcohol and today I'm increasing my fruits and vegetables. I'm drinking a lot of water and I notice that I have to pee like crazy in the evening and nighttime but it's normal during the day which is weird. Other than that everything is the same.

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Hey thanks for posting! Well I've had acne for 15 years. It used to be a lot worse before the first trial of Accutane 4 years ago. But this summer it started getting out of control again where I couldn't control it with diet. But it still wasn't nearly as bad as I'm sure most other people on here had. I'd say it was moderate. But persistent!! I don't have cystic acne. I have red bumps which can sometimes be painful. And they show up all over my face, not any specific areas. I don't have any on my body though, just my face. Since the IB I have 7 or so on my right side of my face and 2 on my left side of my face. But looking in the mirror now it looks like they might be starting to go away. I have noticed since starting Accutane again that they go away much more quickly than before it. Are you on Accutane?

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Thanks for sharing, Orchid! I know how much it sucks to have acne, especially persistent acne. Good for you for jumping on it! I'm not on Accutane yet. But I've been offered it a couple different times and haven't been totally ready to take it. Probably mostly scared away by the side effects and the IB and other horror stories. At any rate, I'm reaching the end of my rope with acne. I've got it relatively controlled on my face. Mostly I stopped using any BP, SA or other type of topicals. It helped a ton but not 100%. Still lotta clogged pores, etc and consistent/persistent breakouts. But I have a lot of marks/PIH and my face is an oil machine. My back still breaks out unfortunately. So, as Im getting closer to 30, I think it is time to try Accutane. I ruled out food allergies and diet, though I still believe there is a connection and it is different for each individual. At any rate, my concerns with going on Accutane are that old marks look worse, and the potential IB could be tough to deal with. But, I guess you gotta just take a leap of faith at some point and trust your derm to choose the right treatment.

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I'm getting closer to 30 as well. I'm 28. Aren't adults supposed to grow out of acne...? Oh well. Guess we're the lucky ones. *Sarcasm* I completely understand about the fear of the initial breakout. However, think of it this way. Yea, it's going to suck but that time is going to go by anyway. And you will reach a point where you are done with it. The next 5 months are going to happen whether I take Accutane or not. So I might as well take it because once that 5 months is over I will (hopefully) have clear skin. So instead of being scared that whole time ( like I also was for a while) I would rather use the time to hopefully clear my skin. Do you know what I mean? I'm just trying to get it over with.

I was hesitant to go on it a second time. I remember I had really bad pelvic/low back pain the first time I took it. So when my dermatologist suggested Accutane I told him I needed to think about it. So I thought about it and decided that I really don't want to have acne in my wedding pictures and on my honeymoon. I really want clear skin. So even though the IB and side effects might suck, at some point it should all be better. I think it will be worth it to not have to worry about my skin.

The first time I took it, my skin was clear for a full year afterwards and it was sooo nice. I didn't have to worry about my skin at all. It was such a relief. I want that freedom again. I would suggest going for it as long as your dermatologist clears you for it.

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Very valid point! Time will go by. Might as well take action! I like your attitude! One other thing that concerns me is that since we are older and STILL getting acne, is Accutane an actual solution or just something that will work for a few months or couple years. I.e. will it come back for us since we clearly did not 'outgrow' it? I'm curious to hear your thoughts...

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Part of the reason teens and younger adults get acne is because their bodies are still growing and changing and maturing and their hormones are all out of whack. I am hoping that since we are older and our hormones (and etc) that plague teens have leveled out we should be ok. Even though we still have acne and we might still have hormones that are stronger or more prevalent than adults that don't have acne we are still adults. Our bodies are calmer and more adjusted. So I am hoping that the Accutane will sort of "push" us even further in the right direction. Of course all of this is just my theory. And hope!

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Day 15

Well the dryness has certainly started. My face, my eyes, and lips are starting to get dry. But not that bad yet at all. Although it seems to get drier everyday. Totally manageable though. I have felt pretty good and pretty normal lately. Most of the time I forget I am even on it. My nose seems to alternate between runny and stuffy. I had a very mild nosebleed this morning. My skin is also calming down somewhat from my IB. I'm guessing that's what that was. Today it's really not bad at all. I am trying to remain positive throughout this whole thing. I'm only 2 weeks in though, I have a long way to go. My head feels somewhat "foggy" at times while I am studying. And I'm in Nursing school so that's not a good thing lol!! Oh well.

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Good to hear that things have started well for you, Melissa. Even if there is a long way to go, no harm in trying to be positive! Here's hoping that carries on. :hifive:

Edited by PaulH85

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I have been getting foggy headed when I'm studying or at work too! Not all of the time, but sometimes I lose my focus easily. I'm glad your IB is clearing up! I'm on day 17 and my skin is clear aside from 2 small ones that are going away. I didn't have an IB, at least not yet... only a few small zits have popped up and cleared quickly since I started. Th dryness is so much fun right? ;)

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Oh yes so much fun! And it getting worse everyday. Before this medicine sometimes I had to wash my face again in the middle of the day to get rid of the oily feeling and reapply my makeup. Now I am finding that I need to wash my face also in the middle of the day but now it's because my face is so dry and I want to wash my makeup off so I can apply more moisturizer!! I prefer it this way because I know it's working. I am also on Day 17 today. Before we know it our first month will be done and over with! What mg are you taking? I'm taking 20 mg 2x a day.

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I'm taking 40mg once a day. I'm pretty small: 5'0", 100lbs so I'm just about at the 1mg/kg dose. Are you also petite or did you start on a somewhat low dose? I think I'm even dryer today than yesterday! That was the good part about oily skin. You get the right makeup and you can blot the oil away without messing anything up, then touch up with a little powder & you're fresh again. I wouldn't dare put powder on my skin now because it would only exaggerate any flaking and make my skin look dryer. I actually went to Sephora the other day for a new foundation or tinted moisturizer because I just don't know how to have dry skin. The girl that helped me also helped me in the beginning of the summer when my oil was getting out of control, so she laughed that I was there for the opposite reason. I'm trying Make Up For Ever's HD liquid foundation because it's supposed to add some moisture but stay lightweight at the same time; it also gets outstanding reviews on Beautypedia and the Sephora website and it's gentle on sensitive skin. When my skin looks better I can just make my own tinted moisturizer by adding it to whatever moisturizer I'm using (using Paula's Choice Hydralight lotion & Hourglass Veil Mineral primer SPF 15 right now). What moisturizer, primer (if any) and foundation are you using & do they seem to do the trick so far? I'm on the lookout for a new moisturizer meant for dry, sensitive skin.

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I am 5'6 and 125 lbs. I don't know if that's considered petite or not lol. I have a feeling he will bump up my dosage as time goes on. For my moisturizer I use Alba lotions. I used to use 100% Pure, but I found that they pretty much all have oil in them and my dermatologist said (this was before accutane) that any moisturizers that contain oil can make my face breakout. I had a hard time finding one without any oil in it but Alba doesn't have any. So for now I'm using that. For my makeup I use all 100% natural makeup. It's called Alima Pure and it's basically mineral makeup. Kind of like Bare Minerals. So far it's working out pretty good with the dryness. I put my moisturizer on then I use my brushes to put this makeup on when the moisturizer is almost absorbed so that it's almost like a tinted moisturizer if you know what I mean. It helps to set it. My dermatologist had written me a prescription for a really good moisturizer. I forget the name and I keep forgetting to go pick it up lol (that might be the accutane clouding my memory!) One thing I don't like so far about this medicine is how they say that you can't get your eyebrows waxed while on it! But I am doing my best with tweezing them and so far so good. It was just always so much easier to get them waxed. Do you or did you used to do that?

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I've always tweezed my eyebrows; I've had them waxed a couple of times, but then I just maintained the shape with tweezers. Now I use the Anastasia brow sculpting kit to keep mine looking nice. It has stencils, brow powder, tweezers, etc. I love it because I know my brows are even using the stencils. It's a little pricy, but it was worth the splurge for me (can you tell I'm a Sephora junkie? sometimes I feel like a living ad campaign ;)). I'll check out the Alba moisturizers. I used Olay complete SPF 15 for sensitive skin today since I already had some. (Do you also have several rejected skin care products in your bathroom?) It was too heavy for my pre-Claravis skin, but I think it's okay so far today. I really want one that only has mineral sunscreens because the chemical ones make me sting & I don't really like using my primer in sunscreen quantities because it's expensive.

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