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jwitz

Incredibly Conflicted

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Hello,

So I've got back from my derm, and he has agreed to prescibe me Accutane 60mg for 5 months. I haven't got it yet, as I need to have a blood test first if I decide to go ahead. The thing is, CURRENTLY my acne is actually ok. Still apparent, and with scars, but not much in the way of swelling and soreness.

Anyway, he gave me a leaflet listing all the horrible ailments that may or may not affect me. I was told to expect dry lips as a given, nose bleeds, headaches, dry eyes and joint pain. It's all the other side effects listed as "very rare" and "rare" that get me. Do I really want to risk permanent damage to my body at 23? 5 months is a long time.

I was initially attracted to the statistics about people not having a recurrence of acne after the first course, and that pushed to fork out the money for the private derm appointment. I guess I was overcome by the idea of getting clear for good, without realising the dangerous side effects.

He reassured me that these side effects are very rare, and that most people only get the ones that he mentioned. However, browsing through the negative accutane thread, I now feel rather nervous about starting on it.

I should mention that I also have a history of anxiety and depressive moods. A person very near to where I live killed herself at 18 a couple of years ago while on the drug. Whether the two are related, I don't know.

I don't know what to do.

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Try washing your face with water only and applying bp to problem areas. Thats what cleared my up permanently. Washing with waer only was the key. Just my 2 cents.

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Try washing your face with water only and applying bp to problem areas. Thats what cleared my up permanently. Washing with waer only was the key. Just my 2 cents.

So you don't use BP anymore? I do use just water to wash my face, and moisturise at night with complex 15. I had a bad experience with BP in that it made me look sunburnt regardless of how much moisturiser I used.

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Try washing your face with water only and applying bp to problem areas. Thats what cleared my up permanently. Washing with waer only was the key. Just my 2 cents.

So you don't use BP anymore? I do use just water to wash my face, and moisturise at night with complex 15. I had a bad experience with BP in that it made me look sunburnt regardless of how much moisturiser I used.

Maybe you used too much? With the summer months approaching you might not be as dry. The moisturizer may have been the culprit of the sunburn. For now, ide say use bp, wash your face with water and a microfiber cloth to get the oil oil. (A new cloth each time.) Bp on problem areas. And when the pools open et some sun of your face n stuff. I use a little cetaphil moisturizer only on my upper lip. If I had a shower the night before, alot of the time ill wake up. Blot my face with a napkin, and put BP on my problem areas without rinsing first. As long as bp is on the skin you should be ok. Just gauge your face washing with water to how your face feels. If your getting cystic acne at the moment. Get on Bactrim for a couple weeks only to clear it up. Give that a shot, if it doesnt work then maybe accutane should be your thing. But this should work

OH and exfoliate every other day with the microfiber cloth. Yes I still use bp and dont have a problem ,jsut occasional dryness that I put cetaphil moisturizer on. I use Dans 2.5bp its a great product.

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The thing about the scary accutane posts is that list everyone else says, if you completely cleared up, and didnt have to worry about anything anymore, would you still be on these boards?

Probably not. People like that just move on, leave only the ones with negative experiences to post around. Those side effects will be rare, otherwise the drug would be withdrawn. Also you'll notice a lot of people post things like '8 years later I got ....' and I guess they put it down to accutane because it's the only 'serious' drug they've taken, but what about repeated painkiller/antibiotic abuse? You just can't say conclusively. Not to mention if acne does have an underlying cause in those people that could be causing symptoms different 8 years later.

Take into account the views of course, but just bare in mind that people with negative views are always more insistent on spreading them.

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you'll notice a lot of people post things like '8 years later I got ....' and I guess they put it down to accutane because it's the only 'serious' drug they've taken, but what about repeated painkiller/antibiotic abuse? You just can't say conclusively. Not to mention if acne does have an underlying cause in those people that could be causing symptoms different 8 years later.

^ This. You hit the nail on the head and I'm glad you brought this up (bolded). I'd like to know how these folks are so sure it was Accutane that caused these problems. How can they be 100% sure that Accutane was the cause? All because you have symptoms years later that are similar to the adverse effects of Accutane does NOT mean that Accutane is responsible for them; that is a logical fallacy.

There is also no conclusive evidence that Accutane is directly responsible for depression and/or suicide. Many people who are on Accutane have these ideations, but how many of them were depressed before starting it? Is there a family history of depression? What has changed in the persons' life that may have led to depression? For example, during the course of an Accutane treatment, many people experience dryness and cracking of the lips. I can imagine someone thinking, "wow, my acne is finally gone! I'm happy! But my lips are so dry, they never used to look like this! I just keep getting uglier!" - thus, depression. Depression and other mental illnesses are very complex, and it is difficult to narrow down the true causes.

Research is continually being done on this topic, so you might want to look up research studies on various medical journal websites. As a nursing student, I use CINAHL and Medscape all the time. Here is the results of one study in Sweden regarding depression/suicide and Accutane, from the British Medical Journal:

"However, the risk of attempted suicide was already rising before treatment, so an additional risk due to the isotretinoin treatment cannot be established. As patients with a history of suicide attempts before treatment made new attempts to a lesser extent than did patients who started such behaviour in connection with treatment, patients with severe acne should not automatically have isotretinoin treatment withheld because of a history of attempted suicide."

Just something to think about.

My advice is to follow what your DOCTOR (who went to medical school for 10+ years) suggests (read: not people on the internet), and listen to your body. If you are experiencing any unusual thoughts or feelings, continually getting bad headaches, brain "fogginess", etc. then you need to contact your prescribing physician. While it's helpful to go online and read about others experiences, if you choose to go with the advice on the internet, that could be detrimental. If you read through the posts on here about the negative experiences on Accutane, you will read a variety of negative experiences that may have been prevented if the person listened to their body. They knew something was wrong, but they continued the treatment anyway. They listened to the 'advice' online (thus ignoring their physician's), and then they were all surprised when they ended up having an adverse effect. Perhaps if these people would have brought up these concerns with their physician, their effects could have been eliminated or greatly diminished. I am not blaming these people whatsoever; I am simply using their experiences to illustrate a point.

Your health and wellness is not the exact same as everyone else; we are not "one size fits all". Each of us has unique health concerns that must be taken into consideration when trying ANY drug - not just Accutane. Educate yourself, talk to your physician, and use common sense. Best of luck to you!

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The main concern I have is with wearing contacts. I hate wearing my glasses outside of the house since they do not suit me at all. I have read quite a few posts of people saying that even after the accutane, they still experience dry eyes which prevent them from wearing contacts anymore. This alone is making me want to avoid it now.

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The main concern I have is with wearing contacts. I hate wearing my glasses outside of the house since they do not suit me at all. I have read quite a few posts of people saying that even after the accutane, they still experience dry eyes which prevent them from wearing contacts anymore. This alone is making me want to avoid it now.

ClearDreaming and killertofutaco, those are the best posts I have read on this forum.

jwitz, even if you are amongst the few people who develop this post isotretinion persistent dry eye problem you speak of (I've not actually noticed it on this forum, so in the real world I would imagine the affected % must be minuscule), then is it not better to wear glasses and be acne free? Does acne suit you better than glasses do?

Don't get taken in by the internet horror stories like I was when I was your age, my reward for refusing roaccutane then was more acne scaring.

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The main concern I have is with wearing contacts. I hate wearing my glasses outside of the house since they do not suit me at all. I have read quite a few posts of people saying that even after the accutane, they still experience dry eyes which prevent them from wearing contacts anymore. This alone is making me want to avoid it now.

ClearDreaming and killertofutaco, those are the best posts I have read on this forum.

jwitz, even if you are amongst the few people who develop this post isotretinion persistent dry eye problem you speak of (I've not actually noticed it on this forum, so in the real world I would imagine the affected % must be minuscule), then is it not better to wear glasses and be acne free? Does acne suit you better than glasses do?

Don't get taken in by the internet horror stories like I was when I was your age, my reward for refusing roaccutane then was more acne scaring.

Hi, thanks for the advice.

So you've tried accutane and had good results? Are you still on it now? If not, has it come back after the treatment, and how long have you been off the drug?

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My first course gave me three years completely acne free. After two and a half years I got the odd small white head, but not cystic acne like I had previously. Unfortunately however, the cystic acne slowly crept back. My current course ends in exactly one week, I will have been given a higher dose of it this time, 161mg per kg of body weight so hopefully that will be the end of acne for me for good.

My side effects have included slightly flaky skin on my face, at the start it was around my mouth and forehead, but after a month or so just my forehead flaked. You can't actually tell though, unless I either did not wash my face or did not use a moisturiser. I have also had eczema since my late teens, so my skin flaked and I have had to use a moisturiser anyway regardless of roaccutane.

I also have slightly dry eyes (during course, not persistently after my first course), but its not uncomfortable, I actually forgot I had it until I read your post. It feels like your eyes do when you are tired. Perhaps thats why some people say isotretinion makes them tired. Physical performance wise I haven't noticed myself getting any more tired, I can do more pull ups and push ups now than before I started my course - I love callisthenics :)

I also have dry flaking lips as do everybody, and I think a bit of Angular cheilitis - not sure on that though, as I am using google to diagnose myself. Type fatigue into google and within 2 minutes it will have you thinking you have lupus.

No sign of any of the scary side effects I read about on the internet, but I don't consider myself to be amongst the lucky few, I consider myself to be amongst the typical vast majority.

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