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gnoejsy

First Time Accutane User, Start Date 12/2/14, 25 M Seattle, Wa

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Start Date: 12/2/2014

Duration: 8 Months

1st Month: 40mg, 2 doses a day (Zenatane)

2nd Month: 40mg, 2 doses a day (Amnesteem)

3rd Month: 40mg, 2 doses a day (Amnesteem), Blood Testing done 1/28

4th Month: 40mg, 2 doses a day (Amnesteem)

5th Month: 40mg, 2 doses a day (Amnesteem), Blood Testing done 4/17
6th Month: 40mg, 2 doses a day (Amnesteem)
7th Month: 60mg, 2 doses a day (Amnesteem)
8th Month (LAST!): 60mg, 2 doses a day (Amnesteem), done 8/2

Hi, I just want to share my accutane journey. I feel like this is a great way to keep my journey so that I can look back on this when I succeed!

A little bit about myself: I am a 25 year old working professional in Seattle, and a typical 5'11", 180lbs guy that likes to keep himself active. I also attend night time Master's Degree program at University of Washington. I have a pretty general lifestyle, one that lends itself to having fun on the weekends (quite a bit of alcohol consumption), but very healthy eating almost everyday (only red wine to get some antioxidants on the weekdays, no smoking or drugs, haven't been to a drive-thru in years). I also work out 3-4 times a week on heavy weightlifting (squats, DL, bench, pull ups, etc.) and a couple times playing basketball.

My history with acne: I broke out for the first time in my high school days (I think towards Junior year), whiteheads around the cheeks mostly that I picked (big regrets about that now). For a while I had a lot of acnes but only in my face (mostly cheeks, temple area). As I got to college I began having some in forehead and chins as well. I've pretty much used all the OTC and other stuff there is (proactiv, etc) just because like everybody else I was a poor college student. Even though I got scholarships and stuff, they don't account for your personal cosmetics needs haha.

Anyways, the acne kinda died down towards the end of my college days, but about a year and a half ago I began to break out crazy around the temple area, chin and especially the forehead (which I'm still battling as we type). These were cystic acne and I didn't know if it was a bad rash or if I had some terminal disease because I had never seen one before. At that time I was going through an emotionally hard time and although I handled it pretty well it showed on my face (I was also battling some sleeping problems which naturally went away as time passed by). The first dermatologist that I went to prescribed me a regimen with minocyclin/clindamycin and some cream afterwards, but as soon as he cut off the pills and the cream regimen was up, I began breaking out again (almost exclusively on my forehead). That regimen left scars on my temples and redness on my forehead. Eventually he cut off my insurance so I took that as an opportunity to go see a second dermatologist. He immediately noticed continual breakout in the forehead and the remaining scars on my temples, and prescribed me Accutane.

I've heard a lot of stuff about its side effects but honestly the only thing that's bothered me is the financial side. I am glad that I can even afford this, but this stuff is expensive!!! I can't imagine someone without an insurance buying this at a pharmacy... When I signed my iPLEDGE there were lots of wording to intimidate people but honestly I almost died of digestive problems so they don't even phase me one bit.

Anyways that's how I got to this point, and I wanted to post this here to share my story throughout the program.

Dec 2-5: I decided to go with Zenatane because that's the one WalMart carried. After I got my prescription I noticed that my Aetna insurance lets me buy any of them at 100 dollars, so I may switch things to see how my body reacts.

Anyways,I started on December 2nd and I was pretty stoked about it. I've tried to take it with my meal at 6:30am (I get to work by 7:30 so that's pretty much hard set time) and at around 6~7pm (dinner time, I'm always home unless I'm at the gym). Probably because I just started, I only began to notice the dryness around the end of Day 4, but nothing bad enough to change the moisturizer that I'm using (I use clinique dramatically different moisturizing gel). Strangely enough, I still wake up to an oily face in the morning. No noticeable body pains yet.

Dec 6-8: I start noticing some dryness, especially after I wash my face. I use CeRave gentle cleanser twice a day (in the morning/at night) and right after that I notice the skin's beginning to get more dry. I am still using the same moisturizer, and I still wake up with really oily face. I have yet to change anything on my lifestyle (still drinking on the weekends, no liver symptoms at all) because I believe that for every night I go crazy on drinking, I have 6 other days in which I eat right, sleep long, exercise and relax enough... I began to notice some initial breakouts: some cysts on my neck/chin area, some on the forehead where it keeps breaking out (no surprises there), and a couple on the temple. Also on Day 7, lips are now officially REALLY DRY. Nothing is cracked, but it is dry and beginning to get flaky.

That's about it for now. I will keep it going from time to time. Thanks for reading everyone!

Edited by gnoejsy
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Just want to welcome you to this site,everyone is very supportive on here. I wish you all the best on your journey it's a rocky road with highs and lows but I know we will all be clear before we know it.

Just a question though as I'm on day 76 and was told and still told by my derm never to drink ( I have a very healthy liver too)

How many units over the weekend do you think you drink?

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Hi! Thanks for the encouragement. As far I remember, the only thing my dermatologist insisted on was to NOT eat anything with Vitamin A (multivitamin, carrots, cantaloupe, etc.) Although drinking is bad in all cases, I didn't want to sacrifice my social life. I may as well enjoy life on or off accutane.

Having said that I am more careful about how much and how fast I drink.... I'd say I consume about 4-6 shots (or ounces or whatever the measurement is) per night. If I drink on Friday night I try not to drink Saturday night but I just try to have fun in general. It helps to sleep A LOT and go to the sauna on Sunday to sweat it off as well.

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Oh my derm told me accutane is very damaging to the liver, I've not had a drop of alcohol since I started,it's not been an issue really but with Xmas and new year :/ haha

It's a small sacrifice though id much prefer to keep my liver.

And alcohol is measured in units Lol

Keep updating :)

Edited by Acne*30
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Haha ok will keep that in mind. My birthday is on Sunday so my liver probably won't be so happy :(

Anyways,

Dec 9-12

It's been more than a week and I am starting to see some of the symptoms intensify.

For the last couple of days my face has dried up more; it's the first time I've ever seen my earlobe peel off. It's not very noticeable but when I do look at it close it's there. I've been using Cetaphil for moisturizer after washing my face but it looks too oily so I might be looking to get another moisturizer for the face.

Today I undressed to take a shower and noticed some rashes on my collarbone area and back of the neck. I'm not sure if it's from the medicine or something I ate earlier, because I felt the hot sensation right after I finished eating. I'm not allergic to anything so It's something to keep an eye on.

Breakouts continue on the neck and some on forehead although mostly on the neck. I grow beard pretty quickly so it's hard to notice the ones around the chin area but the neck area is pretty red-ish, but not really bumpy. Rest of my face is just red... like I have an Asian glow (if you know what that is). Hopefully people at work don't mistaken for me showing up to work drunk. Otherwise I'm doing great.

My next dermatologist appointment is next Friday (12/19). It's kinda early but since I'm on vacation the week after, I thought it'd be a great idea to get enough supplies instead of running out while on the go.

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Whadup! Get the CeraVe moisturizing cream (the one in the tub). Moisturizes your face like no tmw, and isn't oily. In fact, it has a pretty skin-like finish. I'm pretty close to you, Vancouver, and the cold air really really really dries up your skin. I have rashes on my hands that are caused from the dry air. Usually it is okay but accutane has made my skin really dry. They go away in 1-2 days when I keep them moisturized at all times though. So if you are experiencing dryness, keep those areas moisturized. Also, if you do shower in very hot water, try turning it down a bit. It helped with my skin, but showering in warm water is not the same at all : (

My earlobe skin has been flaky before. It sounds weird but I just moisturize it. It helps a lot!

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Thanks! I already use ceraVe for cleanser so I'll definitely give that a try... Coincidentally, I'll be in Vancity on the Christmas Weekend! (Dec 26-28) Any place you suggest for eating??



More post:
Dec 13-17

I had my birthday over the weekend, but didn't drink as much as I thought I would have. I went to a house warming for a friend of mine. They had lots of munchies so I tried to have that with the drinks I had. (A few shots of assortment of liquors, including tequila :( ) It hasn't had an effect on my liver or stomach but I've completely pushed drinking to the weekend only. I'm not sure what the prescribed dose will be this Friday, but if he prescribes a higher dose, I'm going to give a serious thought about cutting off alcohol completely.

I've been starting to get a symptom of cold the last couple of days but it hasn't stopped me from taking accutane or eating correctly. Hopefully this goes away soon. As far as breakouts, it's all been mild. I don't have the crazy stories of some other people who have had initial breakouts so I've been happy with where it's going. Hopefully I don't get hit with crazy breakouts down the road.

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What type of food are you into?

Some places that I love are G-men ramen (Richmond), Yolk's (breakfast/brunch place in Vancouver), the Boathouse (West Van), Sushiyama for sushi (the sushi pizza is a must), Ebisu or Motomachi Shokudo (downtown). Theres a placed called Nook's that is also really good. Its a very thin base/crust pizza! And last place I can think of that I frequent is sawasdee thai food!

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Thanks for the recommendations! I have some friends up there who will show me around but when they can't, I'll remember to go to those!

Back to updates:

Dec 18-22

Face is getting drier by the day but I have finally changed to CeraVe moisturizer and it looks less oily after I apply it. I might rotate between that and Cetaphil to see which one makes me look less oily and go with that one. I've also been rotating between aquaphor, burt's beeswax and some other generic chapstick brands, and may give Carmex a try. So far I like Burt's Bee.

Friday was my derm appointment and he has agreed with me that the forehead is clearing up a bit, while the neck area is getting worse... Obviously there are more stuff to come out before everything clears so I'm content with the progress so far. I got RX'd with the same doses again (40mg, 2 a day) so the cost will probably be the same (100 dollars :( ).

Over the weekend, I got a sizable pustule right in the freakin middle of my forehead. Thankfully there won't be much seeing people this week as I took care of all Christmas celebrations over the weekend (when the pustule had not yet fully appeared, had my hair down anyways). But I am going to Canada on Friday and hopefully I can get it fixed up very soon. I will probably try to sleep well and recover from this weekend drinking (not too much, but then not too little either). I've read other people using BP for spot treatments while on Accutane but I'll pass on that for now.

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Hi guys. Ive just been prescribed 30mg and I'm pretty nervous about taking it due to all the stories. I havent been told not to drink but have since seen that mentioned by people online. I do like a weekly drink or two so has anyone else had any advice on this topic? Ive also been told not to wax which I'm not happy about but I can see the sense in this advice. No pain without gain right?????

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Hi guys. Ive just been prescribed 30mg and I'm pretty nervous about taking it due to all the stories. I havent been told not to drink but have since seen that mentioned by people online. I do like a weekly drink or two so has anyone else had any advice on this topic? Ive also been told not to wax which I'm not happy about but I can see the sense in this advice. No pain without gain right?????

I don't drink alcohol, so its not a problem for me. However, from reading online, it seems like 1-2 drinks a week is okay! Obviously, if you go do your bloodwork and your liver enzymes are elevated, your derm will probably a.) lower your dose or b.) take you off of it. So, just stay away from the alcohol for the 1st month so you know how your body reacts to it first & do your bloodwork and everything. If things are good, I think for month 2, it'll be okay to occasionally have a drink.

Let me tell you though, accutane is the best thing thats happened to me. The only side effect I experience is dry lips & skin. I get cuts easily too as accutane does thin out your skin. That is the majority of it though. I am very happy with my results thus far (almost finished month 3). Again, everyone reacts differently and results come at different times.

Just be prepared for the dry skin. The lips are the worst because the dryness makes them uncomfortable. However, lip balm fixes it! : )

@gnoejsy

Carmex is the bomb. I don't like the chapstick ones because it feels like they don't do anything. I prefer balms that are like the texture of aquaphor, but the tinglingness and tackiness of carmex feels like it moisturizes better (to me at least). I probably have 8 different lip balms since I"ve started accutane. Haha

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Thanks for the advice. I wonder if it thins ur skin permanently even after u stop taking it. I want a tattoo done but think I will either get it done before I start the tablets or after. Ive been advised not to have it done during for obvious reasons. Again any thoughts welcome...........

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Thanks for the advice. I wonder if it thins ur skin permanently even after u stop taking it. I want a tattoo done but think I will either get it done before I start the tablets or after. Ive been advised not to have it done during for obvious reasons. Again any thoughts welcome...........

A close friend of mine was on accutane & did get a few tattoos after she was off. She is okay. You will know, when I pick at my spots, I end up ripping up the top layer off (easily). I guess when that doesn't happen, your skin is back to normal. & it isn't thinning it, its just shedding really quickly! I believe this is so because my blemishes fade quite fast. Its fairly extraordinary, actually. hah!

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@skaims

I picked up Carmex... at 7-11 in Vancouver! They work wonders. I may still switch around with a bunch of others, i still love the burt's bee too much!!

Here is more update:

Dec 23-29

I haven't had too much to update on... except that I had a very bad stomach virus for a couple days leading up to Christmas. I initially thought it was appendicitis (since my right side hurt), but then my dad (who had 4 surgeries due to appendix removal) did some quick test and it turned out to be just a stomach virus. I was just glad it wasn't from accutane, but I ended up skipping a day (Christmas Eve).

I've noticed that I get a slight discomfort in my stomach (cramping) if I take the medicine on an empty stomach. Other than that it's the same. I get a couple breakouts (usually whiteheads) on my forehead every once in a while. I am getting a little concerned about scarring but I'll worry about that after I'm done with accutane.

Over the weekend I took a trip to Vancouver with my friends to party in Yaletown. I had a great time and it helped me get things off my mind. I did take accutane while I was there. I also just put in a new order in Walgreens (same dose, same price). On to Month #2!

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Hey gnoejsy,

don't take on an empty stomach! Not sure the "scientific" reasons why but always have it with food ;) Or if no food available, at least have it with a glass of milk instead of water - the milk kind of acts like "food".

Totally agree with you about Cetaphil being oily - Ive stuck with it (use a different one under make up though) but it really magnifies my pores and makes my face so shiny. Gross. Lol.

Good luck!!

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Hey gnoejsy,

don't take on an empty stomach! Not sure the "scientific" reasons why but always have it with food Or if no food available, at least have it with a glass of milk instead of water - the milk kind of acts like "food".

Totally agree with you about Cetaphil being oily - Ive stuck with it (use a different one under make up though) but it really magnifies my pores and makes my face so shiny. Gross. Lol.

Good luck!!

Thanks for the idea. I didn't even think about the whole milk thing... will keep that in mind!

anyways,

Dec 30-Jan 2

So I've started to really get flushed. My mom's always asking if it is because it's too cold outside that my face gets red (it has really been cold in Seattle) but I'm pretty sure it's due to the medicine.

Month 2 started today (Jan 2) and I've picked up a new brand called Amnesteem. It was a new brand because I chose to go to a nearby pharmacy. I called my insurance and it was going to be a $100 copay for 40mg, 60 doses (which I find out is not a bad pricing at all).

The past couple of days my face has been really flaky (lots of dryness). It's also been hurting as I wash it with a foam washer and then put on the moisturizer during showers. Not sure where that's coming from. But I'm glad everything else is good. I've had no rashes, sore joints, stomach problems (Crohn's or anything of that sort).

If anyone has advice on avoiding flushes or washing the face and not let it hurt, that would be great!

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Hey! I was on someones log and they mentioned that they showered in hot water which caused hot flashes & a stinging moisturizer sensation. Do you shower in hot water? I get the stinging sensation when I moisturize my arms & occasionally my face when I use hot water. Having warm usually helps!

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Jan 3-9

I haven't updated in a long time. A lot has happened in my life over that week period but major things regarding accutane:

- It's been a week on the new accutane brand (Amnesteem), and it seems to dry my face less. In fact I don't see any peeling. I'm not sure if that's because it's a different brand or if it's because my body is used it it already. I put less moisturizer and I can deal with my face all right. My face still seems to get hot flashes after showers though. I'm trying to take warm instead of hot showers but I may have lost my temperature sensor in my fingers haha.

- My forehead seems to be oily again; I am getting a couple breakouts and I'm not sure if it's because of the new brand, or the doses or if it's because I introduced working out again and therefore I am more tired (explained in a bit). Maybe i need to wash my face twice a day like i used to pre-accutane.

- Lip's busting up again. The temperature drop is crazy and it's making my lip extremely dry and crack. It hurts a bit but it's not going to stop me from eating... or lip balming.

- (Might be unrelated to accutane whatsoever, but) I began strength training again after healing back from a sprained knee I got towards the beginning of my accutane journey. It's mostly 3-day a week weightlifting, and off-day mobility work, stretching and playing basketball. I've noticed a drop in my immune systems (always happens when I go back to working out intensely, will come back up in a week) and I feel more tired. I've been taking ZMAs to help aid in sleep recovery and I don't think that contains any Vitamin A.

- School started again, so that may add to some stress level...

Nothing drastic has happened in regards to accutane symptoms but all these life changes are definitely something to keep an eye on, regarding its effect on my accutane journey.

Edited by gnoejsy
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Updates...

Jan 14 - Day 44 (I need to start doing this to keep the count)

The breakouts on my forehead are healing and fading much faster. On another note, I've been getting strange rashes on my left wrist. I think I may have scratched it from itching while I was sleeping because it got worse overnight on Monday. It's been healing for the past couple of days so I should be good. It looks like this...

IMG_0806.jpg

Otherwise everything is smooth! except my skin...

Edited by gnoejsy
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More updates...

Jan 21 - Day 51

There is an upcoming appointment with the derm coming up in a couple days. Everything has been going well... by well I mean I still get 3-4 breakout spots on the forehead. Some turn into whiteheads and others just stay as nodules until it goes away (takes a while). I recently began getting pimples in the back. One came out by the shoulder blades then disappeared in a couple days, then another appeared on the middle of my back just yesterday. It hurts a bit to sit on a chair but overnight seems to have improved quite a bit.

Face still feels like that burning sensation sometimes and for whatever reason I have been less keen about putting on moisturizer. I should get back to doing so.

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Feb 2 - Day 63

I haven't updated in a while because I've been busy with life to really have to think about acne... But anyways...

I had an derm appointment and got RXed with the same 40mg, twice a day dose. He also asked me to (finally) get a blood test which I did last Thursday. I had to fast which is not ideal because I am in a strength training with maximal eating, but I went on a binge (albeit healthy one) right afterwards.

one cystic acne breakout on my forehead is recovering... faster than I thought. Also that one spot on the back is recovering as well. Everything else is smooth sailing.

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Feb 17 - Day 78

I'm inching towards the end of Month 3, and something I had not expected came up last week: Cracked corner of the mouth. I think it came last weekend (~Feb 6/7), when after a week of inconsistent sleep due to work, I went out to drink with my buddies and got dehydrated for the rest of the week. I tried everything I could (drinking more water, getting better sleep, etc.) but it hasn't helped much. It doesn't hurt but it bothers me to have one corner of my mouth look like the Joker from Dark Knight movies. Anyways, I finally did some more research and found Hydrocortisone ointment to be a good solution according to fellow taners on this site, so I just applied one and will see what happens over the next couple of days.

Other than that, I probably didn't help myself by going on a Vegas trip this past weekend (sister's birthday, had to go...). I feel more tired than usual and will restart on my 1.5 gallon/day water intake that I had been doing prior to mouth getting busted up. Also plan to recover with added naps during the week. Everything else seems fine. That's all I can report for now.

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Feb 27 - Day 88

I was back at the office for the 4th prescription... same dose (40mg, 2 a day) for the next month. The doctor told me the blood test came out fine, so I am still on for accutane. I talked to him about my crack on the left corner of the mouth, which is still there... Cortisone helped for a few days and then it didn't. I had read about its skin thinning effect so I stopped after three or four days of religious application. I think I'll stick with Burt's bees with lots of drinking water. Crack just seems to go bad and then heal a bit then repeat. The most important thing is that I am not letting that affect my mental health.

The doc did prescribe me something called tacrolimus for the crack but I'm going to hold off on that until I have to use it (i.e. can't eat without opening my mouth and hurting). Otherwise everything else is smooth. I'm just a bit more tired and sore since I went back to weightlifting.

Edited by gnoejsy
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Mar 8 - Day 97

Both corners of my mouth have cracked open in turns (if the left one is healed the right one cracks and vice versa...). It's been a frustrating and somewhat of an enduring experience. I've been religiously applying burt's bee and/or carmax at every chance I can get but I think without actually getting tacrolimus cream I was prescribed at the last visit (which I have yet to get, still on hold for what it could cost) it may continue to be an issue.

I still get one cystic acne per month it seems... only on the forehead. Back acnes have gone (although the scar goes away much slower than my face it seems). My finger skins have been coming off so it's something to monitor on and remind myself to talk to the doctor at the next visit if it continues on.

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