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Squid Ink

Is Bactrim Failing?

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Please help. I've been struggling with mild acne since I was 18 (I'm now almost 21) and it has become moderate-severe in the past year.

I was prescribed Ampicillin for the mild acne, and took it for about 5 months. Everything cleared up beautifully and stayed that way for 6 months off medication. Then suddenly the right side of my face started breaking out. I went back on Ampicillin, and it may have worked a little initially but after a few more months my face started breaking out severely (still just the right side).

I thought the dermatologist would put me on birth control, but he says it doesn't seem to be hormonal. He prescribed Doxycycline, which I took for 4 weeks without seeing any improvement... in fact, it may have gotten a little worse. I went in for another appointment and he switched to Bactrim... he guaranteed me I would see improvement in a few weeks and within in a month should be completely clear so I could stop the medication.

Well, it's been 3.5 weeks and I haven't seen improvement. Around the 2 week mark I seemed to be clearing up for about 2 days, and there was great rejoicing, but then I broke out just as badly as before.

I'm doing everything right... I wash my face twice a day with Cetavil (a gentle cleanser), moisturize daily, use Tretinoin, sometimes a little benzoyl peroxide, eat healthy, etc... I think my dermatologist is as confused as I am.

How long should Bactrim take? Should I give it more time, or does this mean it's not going to work?

If not, would the next step be birth control pills? Would they be effective even if my acne isn't hormonally-related?

Any information or personal experience you could share would be much appreciated. Thank you!!!

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I had a similar experience as you and I ended up taking Accutane. It really has been the only thing thats worked for me lately.

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Thanks for your reply... just curious, how long did you take Bactrim before giving up? And how long were you on Accutane before you saw results? I'm really not thrilled about the idea of Accutane, but if it's guaranteed to work quickly, it might be worth it...

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Thanks for your reply... just curious, how long did you take Bactrim before giving up? And how long were you on Accutane before you saw results? I'm really not thrilled about the idea of Accutane, but if it's guaranteed to work quickly, it might be worth it...

I was on Bactrim for over 6 months. It did work on the larger spots I would get but my face was still a mess. Both times Ive been on Accutane I saw good result within 2 months and I was pretty much clear after 4 months each time. Everyones different though. So clear up really fast others take a while.

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Ev1 is different but you should give the antibiotic at least 8 weeks to make a judgment whether it is helping or not, especially if you are dealing cystic and/or severe acne.

Best of luck

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Update for anyone curious about Bactrim, or anyone who can offer helpful information:

It's now been 5.5 weeks on Bactrim, and I still haven't seen the promised results. About once a week I get really excited because it looks everything is calming down and going away, just leaving marks, but after a day or two the marks get inflamed again, plus new breakouts appear.

It's maybe a tiny bit better overall, but it's hard for me to detect the improvement, and my mom (who I hadn't seen since coming home for the last dermatologist appointment) couldn't tell the difference. This definitely doesn't qualify as the "completely clear" that my dermatologist guaranteed I would see within 4 weeks.

I'm going to the dermatologist Monday to see what he says... it seems like Accutane is only thing stronger than Bactrim, so while the idea terrifies me I'm going to ask him about it anyway.

So if anyone has advice about Bactrim (should I be patient and wait it out longer?), Accutane, or anything else that has worked for you after several antibiotics have failed, I would love to hear it! Thanks!!

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Well, don't know if anyone is following this, but in case any future people of the internet are, like me, looking for answers... here's an update from the dermatologist appointment.

He told me to stay on the Bactrim (he claims my face is better than last time; maybe I just can't tell because I see it every day). He also prescribed a birth control pill, Tri-Previfem (aka Tri-Sprintec).

The reason I haven't done the birth control before is because I kept telling him it wasn't hormonal... it seemed like a continuous breaking-out process, not a once-a-month flareup. But when I described the pattern I see: about once a week it breaks out, then starts healing until I THINK only marks are left, then suddenly the marks become inflamed again... he says this means hormones are a factor. This is supported by the fact that Bactrim hasn't worked as well/fast as it does for most people.

I asked about Accutane, but since I have to be on birth control to qualify for that anyway, he said to just start with the birth control and go from there. But apparently the birth control pills take 3 months to start making a difference... this is insane. Do I want to wait that long? No, no I don't.

Oh well... I'll keep updating occasionally to record for future disappointed Bactrim users whether or not this combo starts working.

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