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Hi,

My 16 year old daughter has had acne for 6 years (it's been getting slowly worse over that time) and finally saw an NHS dermatologist yesterday. As she was hoping, he has prescribed Roaccutane, a drug which she has read a lot about and which until today I knew very little about.

Having read various message boards on Roaccutane, I'm feeling pretty anxious about the whole thing. Daughter is doing her Grade 7 Singing exam in Spring and her GCSEs in Summer 2005. I've read that taking Roaccutane can give you a very dry throat, which might affect her singing exam, and I've also read the (unproven) link with depression, which may affect her GCSEs. She already suffers from very dry chapped lips and wears contact lenses. I think you could call this a "full house" in bingo terms!

I'd like to be as supportive as I can and get as prepared as possible for whatever might crop up over the next few months.

1. I read that vitamin E and GLAs can help with dry skin. Would it be ok for her to take Evening Primrose Oil capsules … and if so, any recommendations on quantity?

2. I suffer very occasionally with what I would call nervous depression and I find that taking a Vitamin B Complex capsule daily really helps keep the blues at bay. Has anyone tried using Vitamin B Complex as a support while taking Roaccutane?

3. Any suggestions on how to keep the throat well lubricated (other than water and alcohol obviously)?

4. Am I correct in saying that her Philips Depilator should be locked away for the period of treatment?

5. Any other suggestions for ways I can help and support her?

Thanks.

PS I found the postings very useful and interesting and very good luck to all of you.

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1. I read that vitamin E and GLAs can help with dry skin. Would it be ok for her to take Evening Primrose Oil capsules … and if so, any recommendations on quantity?

I tried Vitamin E at 500IU, but it only helped with the dryness a little. I suggest she takes vitamins rather than EPO though. EPO caters more for hormonal issues too.

2. I suffer very occasionally with what I would call nervous depression and I find that taking a Vitamin B Complex capsule daily really helps keep the blues at bay. Has anyone tried using Vitamin B Complex as a support while taking Roaccutane?

nope..

3. Any suggestions on how to keep the throat well lubricated (other than water and alcohol obviously)?

drink honeyed stuff. Eg. mixing honey with iced water.It tastes yummy too.

4. Am I correct in saying that her Philips Depilator should be locked away for the period of treatment?

Nope.In my case, there was no need to abstain from any hair-removal practices..it was okay. eusa_angel.gif

5. Any other suggestions for ways I can help and support her?

Yup,but I think she needs more mental support than anything else. Show her that you know it will work, let her feel optimism. And remind her constantly to drink more water, remind her to take her pills, not to pick at her skin at all.

You're a great mum! biggrin.gif

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I agree that you should talk to a doctor or pharmacist before taking anything else that isn't "approved" for use with Accutane.

Hair removal - If the Philips is the kind that just grabs hair then I think it would be okay to use... Wax applied to the skin is bad... I've been using Retin-A and had my eyebrows waxed OUCH! It took off more skin than it should have and the area stung for a day. I imagine Accutane-ed skin would be like that times 10.

Depression - I can't speak for everyone, but despite my past bouts with depression I was quite happy on Accutane. You can't imagine how the prospect of finally having clear skin improves your mood.

I had to take a break from my contacts while on Accutane because they were too itchy to wear all the time. I didn't have dry throat problems, just dry everything else problems. Like jeanie said, keeping your body hydrated with lots of water and drinking honey will probably help with that.

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I know it must be difficult for you as a mother to see your daughter go through this. She is extremely fortunate to have a mother who wants to take a part in her journey towards clear skin and who is willing to educate herself for that purpose.

First of all, I would like to mention that many of the message boards that us at Acne.Org have confronted regarding Roaccutane seem to over dramatize the side effects. From the majority of the posts here and from my personal experience, the most average side effects are chapped lips, a slight headache for the first few days, dull back/joint pain for the first days, dry eyes and flaky/dry skin.

For the chapped lips, I have to suggest Aquaphor. It comes in a huge tub and can be bought at any drugstore. It is the bomb!!! The headaches and joint aches should go away within a week or two. Fortunately, I never had the dry-eyed side effect so I really don’t know what to suggest. As far as flaky/dry skin goes, drink a ton of water and use Cetaphil or Cleocin-T lotion to moisturize. I prefer Evening Primrose Oil over Vitamin A. I was taking around 3000 mg a day, as recommended by a friend from the holistic forum on this site.

I’m not sure about singing.

The only additional things that I have to offer are this: She might experience an initial breakout. This breakout might be the worst her acne has ever been so it has the potential of being very upsetting for her. Some doctors prescribe erythromycin or prednisone to combat this breakout. In some cases, it works. In others, it doesn’t. She may be fortunate and completely bypass the initial breakout. I hope this is the case for her.

As I am sure you already know, she will need to be on a birth control pill in order to obtain Roaccutane. I’m not sure if it is available where you are but I am using Yasim, which contains Spironolactone. Spiro helps with hormonal breakouts. I’ve only been on it for a month and a half so the results aren’t clear yet. It usually takes about three months to see solid results.

Everyone’s experience on Accutane varies. If either you or your daughter have any questions or need any support, you have come to the right place. If it weren’t for the people I’ve met here, my experiences with Accutane would be much more difficult.

Good luck to both of you!

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I know it must be difficult for you as a mother to see your daughter go through this.  She is extremely fortunate to have a mother who wants to take a part in her journey towards clear skin and who is willing to educate herself for that purpose.

First of all, I would like to mention that many of the message boards that us at Acne.Org have confronted regarding Roaccutane seem to over dramatize the side effects.  From the majority of the posts here and from my personal experience, the most average side effects are chapped lips, a slight headache for the first few days, dull back/joint pain for the first days, dry eyes and flaky/dry skin. 

For the chapped lips, I have to suggest Aquaphor.  It comes in a huge tub and can be bought at any drugstore.  It is the bomb!!!  The headaches and joint aches should go away within a week or two.  Fortunately, I never had the dry-eyed side effect so I really don’t know what to suggest.  As far as flaky/dry skin goes, drink a ton of water and use Cetaphil or Cleocin-T lotion to moisturize.    I prefer Evening Primrose Oil over Vitamin A.  I was taking around 3000 mg a day, as recommended by a friend from the holistic forum on this site.

I’m not sure about singing.

The only additional things that I have to offer are this:  She might experience an initial breakout.  This breakout might be the worst her acne has ever been so it has the potential of being very upsetting for her.  Some doctors prescribe erythromycin or prednisone to combat this breakout.  In some cases, it works.  In others, it doesn’t.  She may be fortunate and completely bypass the initial breakout.  I hope this is the case for her.

As I am sure you already know, she will need to be on a birth control pill in order to obtain Roaccutane.  I’m not sure if it is available where you are but I am using Yasim, which contains Spironolactone.  Spiro helps with hormonal breakouts.  I’ve only been on it for a month and a half so the results aren’t clear yet.  It usually takes about three months to see solid results.

Everyone’s experience on Accutane varies.  If either you or your daughter have any questions or need any support, you have come to the right place.  If it weren’t for the people I’ve met here, my experiences with Accutane would be much more difficult.

Good luck to both of you!

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Totally agree with all the above. I think one can get a distorted view reading this forum....because we're using it as a sounding board for our moans n groans. I've had a rough week with an initial breakout...but I know it's doing it's job and that's what is important in the longterm.

I'm constantly trying to persuade my patients to persevere with medications which may have annoying side effects. I know ultimately that they will gain benefits in the long-term. The difference with 'tane is that these are visible benefits....and it's not just about cosmetic improvement it's about peace of mind too. Not many drugs have such a profound effect.

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lol.gif oooh okie dokie.

I was hoping you could help my out with this pain i've been having, but its not in my heart. Neeevvver mind.

How much time do you have left before you get the US equivilant of an M.D.?

By the way.. totally not trying to thread jack. Concerned Mum, I think its great that you're looking out for your daughter and taking precautions, just watch things carefully and report anything unusual to the doctor, your daughter should be fine!

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lol.gif  oooh okie dokie.

I was hoping you could help my out with this pain i've been having, but its not in my heart.  Neeevvver mind.

How much time do you have left before you get the US equivilant of an M.D.?

By the way.. totally not trying to thread jack.  Concerned Mum, I think its great that you're looking out for your daughter and taking precautions, just watch things carefully and report anything unusual to the doctor, your daughter should be fine!

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lol....hopefully not many people of here having heart attacks. I'm fully qualified and have had the US equivalent of MD for 4 years. Currently in specialist training. That's why it's literally been years since I did any dermatology. Had a wee bit during my post-graduate examinations. Luckily have a friend who is a derm though!

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ConcernedMom,

Do not worry . Put her on accutane and there is no need to prepare as such. You can deal with side effects as they come.

I am 10 days into accutane. Only today I felt a need to do something about my dry lips and I went and brought lip balm. My skin has not felt that dry yet, so I have not even bought skin moisturizer yet. I will go and buy it when I feel a need for it.

The point is , do not get worried yourself or worry her about all the preparation deal. The side effects are pretty gradual and can be dealt with on an as needed basis. Same applies for initial breakout. My doctor gave me prednisone prescription and said if and when an init breakout happens go get some else do not even bother.

I think having that atitude takes away some mental pressure from being on accutane. instead of stocking our rooms with all the side effect medicines, most of which , we might not even get smile.gifsmile.gif, it is better to start dealing with side effects when we really feel the need for it.

Same applies for more serious side effects like depression, liver problems etc. They are not sudden but gradual and the monthly tests should be enough to find any problems , if at all.

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1.I read that vitamin E and GLAs can help with dry skin. Would it be ok for her to take Evening Primrose Oil capsules … and if so, any recommendations on quantity?

I choose not to take anything while on accutane. I feel it is better that way because I don't want to tax my liver any more than I am already. Also, I am pretty sure Vitamin E increases the levels of Vitamin A in your body. I read this a few years ago, but am unsure if I am correct since it has been a while since I read it. I keep meaning to check.

2.I suffer very occasionally with what I would call nervous depression and I find that taking a Vitamin B Complex capsule daily really helps keep the blues at bay. Has anyone tried using Vitamin B Complex as a support while taking Roaccutane?

Personally, I suggest omega's for this purpose. Through food, not supplements. Salmon, and tuna are high in omega fatty acids. I also eat eggs with omegas in them. biggrin.gif

3. Any suggestions on how to keep the throat well lubricated (other than water and alcohol obviously)?

No alcohol. I like the "honey" idea.

4.Am I correct in saying that her Philips Depilator should be locked away for the period of treatment?

I am unfamiliar with this product. I do know you cannot wax anything.

5.Any other suggestions for ways I can help and support her?

You are already doing a great job!

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Unnamed soldier, I totally agree with what you say but (a) the dermatologist my daughter saw was about as unapproachable as you can get, (b) he is extremely busy and © since he probably hasn't taken Roaccutane himself, I'd like some feedback from the horses' mouths so to speak.

Many thanks for all the reassuring messages. And I'll try to chill out about it a bit more Unlucky Guy but since I'm of the old "prevention is better than cure " and "forewarned is forearmed" school that's a tad hard! lol.gif

Will post again when daughter is well into course of treatment, but thanks again all for the info and support.

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Well my daughter started to take the Roaccutane on Tuesday 21 Decmber 2004 so we're now starting week 3. So far the only negative effects have been a bit of dry skin. The positive effects have been significant - if a little varied! Overall the spots are definitely going and her whole skin colour and texture is changing to a real "peaches and cream" appearance. She's had one or two minor flare-ups but not as bad as she'd anticipated. She's quite prepared for things to get much much worse before they get better, but so far so good. I wonder if this is down to the fact that the dermatologist has put her on a half dose for the first six weeks. Will keep posting on her behalf as she's focused on her mock GCSEs at the moment.

Happy New Year to All!

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Happy New Year to you and your daughter too! She is very fortunate to have a mother who is standing by her during this process and willing to research all the pros and cons of the drug. The way you are describing it, her skin must look radiant right now compared to your first post.

How many milligrams did the dermatologist put her on?

As far as dry skin goes, there is a thread somewhere in this forum wherein people are discussing different types of moisturizers. It appears that most opinions are varied. For me, personally, my skin really hasn’t gotten too dry on Accutane. I just make sure to drink a lot of water and take evening primrose oil three times a day. I truly believe this helps me out a lot. I’ve tried Cetaphil in the green bottle but it seems to be too oily. Now, I just use it under my eyes for wrinkles - - something I’m sure she doesn’t need to worry about yet.

P.S. I am sure that this good result from Accutane so soon will help her focus on her tests and not on her acne.

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Guest Craigems

3. Any suggestions on how to keep the throat well lubricated (other than water and alcohol obviously)?

Yeh drink milk, Milk has a fatty layer in it which lubricates the throat reducing the dryness. I dont suggest full fat i think skim milk or alike should be fine. It should be the same as drinking that honey however honey has lots of sugar and can spur acne a bit... thats what i have found personally. Anyways good stuff mum smile.gif Also i do suggest you encourage your daughter whilst shes on accutane by saying wow what an improvement n stuff... Seriously it does make a big difference to the self esteem believe me. (minimizing depression)

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hi. i'm 18 years old and have been suffering from severe acne since spring of my junior year in high school.

I used proactiv and it was working great for about 2 years. Then i went to college and my acne surged back regardless of the fact that i was using Proactiv. Now i'm trying out Dr. Murad Complex Kit...and it doesn't seem to be helping at all...

On Jan 10, i'm seeing a derm about Accutane. I've done some research and it seems that people are raving about it...but i'm still worried about the side effects.

any advice?

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Guest Craigems

Yeh side effects are not that serious in a general basis, however you should monitor your health on Accutane but its overall its pretty safe. Yeh if you have bad acne go on Accutane its awsome stuff dont wait any longer smile.gif i'm tired lol sorry for rough reply!

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Arpazia,

Dermatologist has prescribed 40 mg per day for six weeks and then daughter will have a further appointment to review the situation in the light of blood test results and effect on her skin. As you say, at the moment her skin does look positively radiant.

As far as moisturisers are concerned, I am fortunate in being able to afford to buy a pile of different ones for my daughter to try. Some of them have been stinging her now that her skin is so much more sensitive but she's finally settled on "Simple" moisturiser which seems to do the job well without stinging or irritating. The eczema on her hands has flared up because of the dryness but she plans to wait until her next appointment with the dermatologist to ask whether she can use her Fusibet (I think that's what it is) cream.

Craigems,

How funny that you mention milk! My daughter (who has not exactly been a big fan of milk for all her teenage years) has started drinking loads of it without any prompting on my part! Although I keep telling her how good her skin looks, I hardly need to as she is very aware of the improvements herself and is positively fizzing with delight at the way things are going. I think my main role will be to give greater support if she finds any worsening of the condition.

Jaeyoo726,

Good luck with the dermatologist. I'm a newbie at this but even so, I have 3 main bits of advice:

(a) Ask lots of questions at your appointment and don't be afraid to articulate your worries

(b) Make sure you tell someone you can trust and who is sensible exactly what you are doing and keep in close contact with them so they can spot (sorry about the pun) any problems and give you support

© Take a balanced view on whatever you read online or anywhere else

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thanks for the advice. i think i'll be going on Accutane and getting rid of this acne for good.

also i've heard that this cream called Elicina is amazing when applied on your face while you're on accutane. It's supposed to help the scarring diminish drastically.

does anyone know about it? and what are your thoughts on it?

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Just another update on daughter who has been on Roaccutane since 21/12/04. She had a second appointment with the dermatologist on Saturday, following a blood test on the previous Tuesday. The dermatologist seems pleased with the results so far although he could still feel some cysts around the chin area. The rest of her face is looking pretty clear and there doesn't seem to be any scarring. He said he would have liked to put her onto the full dose instead of the half dose she's on because the long-term effects are much better, but her liver function reading was slightly above the normal range which he said was between 5 and 38 (she got 41), so he's keeping her on the half dose until the next set of results in six weeks.

The only side effects so far have been the dry skin and a return of ezxema, but he has given her a topical treatment for that.

So far so good! eusa_clap.gif

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It's a whole since I posted so I thought I would provide an update on progress. I have to say that things aren't going brilliantly. My daughter's dermatologist increased her prescription to the full dose of 80 per day instead of 40 just over three weeks ago.

She was already suffering dry skin, cracked lips and a recurrence of ezxema, but now things seem much worse. The skin on her face has broken out in lots of spots, far worse than she's ever had and they've lasted for nearly two weeks. She gets spontaneous nosebleeds. And, probably worst of all, she is permanently constipated despite having a high fibre diet, eating lots of fruit and drinking lots of water.

Luckily she is being very positive but I really feel for her as I know she is worrying what on earth she can do if the Roaccutane doesn't work. After all, it's supposed to be the "magic bullet".

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