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cincibrad

Brad's Accutane Journey

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Here’s my try at this accutane blog thing. I’ve learned a lot from everybody else, so I thought I would add my experiences to the annals of history.

I’m a 36 year old male. I’ve never really had “bad� acne, where my face is covered with it, just outbreaks of what I call cysts, but nodulars or boils would be more appropriate. Surprisingly, it wasn’t until I was in my 20s that they really started and have continued since. Luckily, it has usually been just one (sometimes two) at a time, but they get huge, and only injections of kenelog make them go away in a timely fashion.

I’ve been on antibiotics for years and they work well for a while, but then the drug stops working and I have to switch to another. I also have been using differin and clindagel over the past couple of years as well.... and used retin-a before that. I’ve moved around quite a bit, so I’ve seen numerous dermatologists, and many encouraged me to go on accutane, but because I never really thought I had acne that bad, and with all the side effects, I decided to keep on the antibiotic routine.

Last year changed my thinking. Obviously I wasn’t going to “grow� out of this and I am probably running out of antibiotics to try... and I didn’t want to take them for the rest of my life. Plus, my latest derm is great. He is very old... I’m guessing at least 80... but really knows his stuff. He finally got me convinced and when the latest antibiotic started to show signs of failing, I decided to make the plunge to accutane.

I started on accutane (claravis, 80mg day) last Tuesday evening (12/27). What nervousness and anticipation... I really hope this works. Thanks to everyone on here for their stories, with pointers and things to expect. After reading many of the blogs, I feel a lot more comfortable about and ready for the potential side effects.

I’m a little behind on daily updates, but I’ll catch up in the next post. Wish me luck!

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DAY 1 (12/28)

A little dryness on the face... think this may be more from the new cleanser I’m using. I used neutrogena facial bar for acne-prone skin for years, but decided to switch to something a little gentler. I mistakenly used the “normal� skin version of the cetaphil cleanser last night, so I’m going to switch to the gentle version and see if that works better.

Had another cyst injected on Tuesday when I got the accutane prescription and it is finally starting to go down. Trying to drink more water. And adhere to a new diet... no red meat or sweets as per the derm to keep the triglycerides down. Still taking cephalexin to help keep the break outs to a minimum while the accutane works. Also using aquaphor on my lips at night in hopes of avoiding the dryness there.

DAY 2 (12/29)

Had a little more dryness this morning, used the cetaphil lotion and all was well. Still think a lot of it is related to the cleansers and my face not being used to it. Didn’t really like the cetaphil for gentle skin cleanser either, it said to dab the excess off but basically leave it on the face... how does this get rid of the dirt if you leave it on? I’m going to try neutrogena’s extra gentle cleanser and see if I like that one better.

In addition to the aquaphor on the lips at night, using blistex during the day, and so far all is normal. A couple of small red spots on the forehead, but no other action. It is hard to not use the differin and clindagel at night, it has been a habit for so long. Still working on the water intake.

DAY 3 (12/30)

A cyst around the nose I had injected a couple of weeks ago is back, as is a nice little whitehead above it... so much for the cephalexin doing its job. Otherwise, all is well. The cyst injected on Tuesday is almost gone. No major dryness and lips are good. Switched to the neutrogena cleanser and don’t like it much either... better than the cetaphil, but it takes a lot of rinsing to get it off. I may try one of the cleansing bars since I am more used to the lather from a bar.

DAY 4 (12/31)

Still have the two demons around my nose... tried to pop the whitehead, hard to tell if it will go away or not... it seems a little different than the normal whiteheads I’ve gotten in the past.

A little more dryness in spots, but nothing major. My face has tended to get dry in the winter time anyway. Lips are good. Everything else is good. Added some vitamin e to regime after reading about some folks using it... figure it can’t hurt.

DAY 5 (1/1)

Popping the whitehead seemed to have zero impact, except no whitehead, but still have a little red cone. The cyst is there as well, but at least it isn’t getting any larger, which is good.

The forehead was pretty dry this morning, so I used the cetaphil lotion. Lips are still good... still using aquaphor at night and blistex during the day. Going to try the cetaphil cleansing bar tonight on the face and see if that works better for me.

Overall, so far, so good. And Happy New Year to everybody.

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DAY 1 (12/28)

A little dryness on the face... think this may be more from the new cleanser I’m using. I used neutrogena facial bar for acne-prone skin for years, but decided to switch to something a little gentler. I mistakenly used the “normal� skin version of the cetaphil cleanser last night, so I’m going to switch to the gentle version and see if that works better.

Had another cyst injected on Tuesday when I got the accutane prescription and it is finally starting to go down. Trying to drink more water. And adhere to a new diet... no red meat or sweets as per the derm to keep the triglycerides down. Still taking cephalexin to help keep the break outs to a minimum while the accutane works. Also using aquaphor on my lips at night in hopes of avoiding the dryness there.

DAY 2 (12/29)

Had a little more dryness this morning, used the cetaphil lotion and all was well. Still think a lot of it is related to the cleansers and my face not being used to it. Didn’t really like the cetaphil for gentle skin cleanser either, it said to dab the excess off but basically leave it on the face... how does this get rid of the dirt if you leave it on? I’m going to try neutrogena’s extra gentle cleanser and see if I like that one better.

In addition to the aquaphor on the lips at night, using blistex during the day, and so far all is normal. A couple of small red spots on the forehead, but no other action. It is hard to not use the differin and clindagel at night, it has been a habit for so long. Still working on the water intake.

DAY 3 (12/30)

A cyst around the nose I had injected a couple of weeks ago is back, as is a nice little whitehead above it... so much for the cephalexin doing its job. Otherwise, all is well. The cyst injected on Tuesday is almost gone. No major dryness and lips are good. Switched to the neutrogena cleanser and don’t like it much either... better than the cetaphil, but it takes a lot of rinsing to get it off. I may try one of the cleansing bars since I am more used to the lather from a bar.

DAY 4 (12/31)

Still have the two demons around my nose... tried to pop the whitehead, hard to tell if it will go away or not... it seems a little different than the normal whiteheads I’ve gotten in the past.

A little more dryness in spots, but nothing major. My face has tended to get dry in the winter time anyway. Lips are good. Everything else is good. Added some vitamin e to regime after reading about some folks using it... figure it can’t hurt.

DAY 5 (1/1)

Popping the whitehead seemed to have zero impact, except no whitehead, but still have a little red cone. The cyst is there as well, but at least it isn’t getting any larger, which is good.

The forehead was pretty dry this morning, so I used the cetaphil lotion. Lips are still good... still using aquaphor at night and blistex during the day. Going to try the cetaphil cleansing bar tonight on the face and see if that works better for me.

Overall, so far, so good. And Happy New Year to everybody.

Hello CB! I just started on 12/22 and also recently posted a journal. I'm about 10 years older than you, but our situations sound very much the same! Those cysts are such a drag! I've got one by my nose right now also and this time chose to skip the kenalog injection. It's healing slower, so maybe I should have had it injected.

I started breaking out big time on day #2 - so bad that I started a beard to cover up most of it. I'm pretty aprehensive about this breakout everyone talks about. I don't know if mine is going to get worse or better.

I hope all goes well with you and Happy New Year!

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Thanks for the comments P&W.

Ever since I grew a goatee a few years ago, the cysts on my chin basically stopped... and the few that did pop up were hidden by the hair. Too bad I couldn't do that on my entire face... although that would raise other issues. That's good luck that your outbreak is in a place that can be hidden by facial hair.

DAY 6

Not a lot new today. Still have the previous places, but nothing new. The cetaphil facial bar seemed to work well, I definitely like it better than the cleansers. My face is definitely more dry than before I started on accutane, but no flaking or need for lotion today... I hate putting lotion on my face if I don't have to. Have a derm appointment tomorrow to get my new old cyst injected... can't wait until those trips to his office stop.

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DAY 7 - end of WEEK 1

So far, so good is my mantra. Had my week one visit back with the derm, he injected the cyst that came back and also the one above it. Other than those two places, all is basically clear. No flaking or dryness on the face and the lips are good. If only the next 19 weeks would match this first one.

Aquaphor for lips at night

Blistex during the day, if I remember

Cetaphil facial bar at night

Cetaphil lotion, if needed

Cephalexin twice a day

Clindagel on spots, if needed

Vitamin E (400), if I remember

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DAY 8

All is well on the face front. A couple of tiny red places here and there, but nothing to worry about. No problem with dryness on the face or lips.

One issue I am having is with my nose. I have allergies and use a nasal spray to control it. Over the last week, the spray has stopped working as well and the nose is running like a faucet. Don't know if this is related to accutane or completely independent. By noticing everything while on this drug, it is hard to know what it is causing and what would have happened anyway. My throat felt sore tonight, but is this all part of a cold or cause I've used more nasal spray and it is irritating the throat... who knows. I really hope it is a cold or the flu cause I'd probably die if I have to put up with 19 more weeks of a runny nose.

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DAY 12

Been a few days since my last post. Since then, the lips have started to get a little dry, but still no major dryness on the face. I'm always drinking something, so it is tough to keep the blistex on during the day, which I'm sure would help.

Yesterday I tired to pop a whitehead that formed on a small cyst, but should have left it alone. I know better, but it was way too tempting. It is red as red can get today.

The runny nose has gotten better, so I'm thinking it may have been a cold. Still not back to normal though.

Have my weekly derm appointment tomorrow... think he'll go to two weeks now since all is going fairly well.

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So far so good....encouraging to read your blog :) Am on day 4 so am not

counting my chickens yet, but nothing to report except nothing. 60mg a day

for four months. My acne sounds similar to yours. Keep us posted mate!

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Thanks for visitng Mr. Tom.

Can't believe I'm being so lazy with updates and I'm ONLY three weeks into this.

DAY 21 - end of WEEK 3

Hasn't been a lot to report. The lips have definitely gotten dry and somewhat chapped. The Aquaphor works great overnight, just tough to keep something on the lips during the day. Any suggestions here would be welcome!

Very little dryness on the face... and for it being winter, it may even be better than the past since I'm not using the Differin anymore, which tended to dry it out a bit this time of year. I've started using the Clindagel a little more on places since there hasn't been the major dryness.

My biggest complaint is that I can not get rid of the pair of cysts I have on my face. While I know I have it well compared to many, these buggers just won't die. The pair on the left flairs up, I get them injected, they go down... then the very next day, the right ones come back... I get them injected, they go down... then the very next day, the left ones return. Over and over.

Before these, after the kenalog injection, the cysts never would come back... at least for a few months. Since this episode started in late october, I have not gone a single day without at least one... and I used to be able to go weeks sometimes between cyst flare ups. It just reinforces my decision to go on accutane. The only good thing about this left right battle is that although they get large and bump out from the face, they don't get red. Very odd.

Got my bloodwork done today for the first refill. Because of scheduling conflicts, my derm appointment is Friday, so I'll get the script a little early. And some more injections too! I think this time he'll switch me to another antibiotic, as the cephalexin doesn't seem to be working anymore.

Oh one more thing... my nose at times get very red. If I just barely blow my nose, it'll look like Rudolph. I have been trying the cetaphil loiton on it just to see if that helps... no conclusion from that experiment yet.

That's it for today.

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More laziness with my reporting...

DAY 31

Hard to believe it has been 31 days... now on my second 30 day supply.

I have had a lot of activity (at least for me) on my face this past week. Got four more places injected today... I'm on a weekly schedule with my derm now. The type of acne has changed from pure under the surface cysts to more above skin action. I'll take that as a sign the med is doing something. But there is no doubt this past week has seen the most action on my face in years... perhaps it is the dreaded inital break-out.

Lots of dryness, in patches on the face and neck and the lips too. It seems I am at the mercy of the weather... if it is rainy and high humidity, I'm ok... if it is clear and low humidity, I dry out like a raison. The scalp gets really dry too. And I seem to get flushed in the face very easily... at times it can be beat red.

My new motto: Patience!

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wow, that must be frustrating to still have acne in your thirties, i sincerely hope accutane will clear you right up. The strange thing is that what you described isn't really severe acne, and acctuane especially at 80 MG seems to be a bit of a harsh dose for someone in your condition (of course i haven't seen you or anything but from what it sounds)

i had a question about cetaphil cleanser, i recently purchased the Non-Comodogenic version that says "doesn't dry you out" and its for normal to oily skin. Is there a "gentler" version? I didnt see any on the shelves.

well, thanks for posting your log. I'll be checking up on ya from now on out.

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Thanks for stopping by JC.

Yea, it has been VERY frustrating getting acne in my 30s... nothing like going to important business meetings with some nice cysts on your face. I look young for my age, so add some acne to it, and folks wonder why some kid came to the meeting. But there could be a lot worse things in life.

My derm told me that if his patients can tolerate it, he pretty much goes with the 80 MG from the start... he has found that those patients on lower doses tend to have to repeat the treatment more than those on 80.

As for the cetaphil cleanser, yes there is one for "Gentle Skin". I tried them both and the gentle formula was definitely less drying, but I had trouble with using cleansers in general... they don't seem like they do anything and the one even said to not rinse off, just dab off the excess. I went back to a bar cleanser since I couldn't figure out how to use the other. Any guidance on how to use the stuff?

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Hi, I am currently on Accutane and I've used both types of Cetaphil cleanser (both the one for normal to oily skin and the gentler one for sensitive skin). I would say that the gentle brand is 100x better because it doesn't leave your skin excessively dry like the Cetaphil for combination/acne prone skin.

When using the Cetaphil for sensitive skin, it is important to work up a lather by using a circular motion on the problem areas of your face (which for me are my cheeks). I usually use one pump of cleanser for one side of my face, and another for the other side. In this way, the Cetaphil feels more like a so-called "real" facial cleanser. I always rinse off my face with water, instead of just wiping everything off. Granted, it took me some time to get used to the moisturizing feel of the Cetaphil cleanser, but I have not had any bad side effects whatsoever. That being said, I wish you much luck on your Accutane journey, cincibrad. Please keep us updated on your progress.

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Yea, I'm getting really bad on the updates.

DAY 53.

Wow, over 100 pills to date... well on my way to the 300. Pretty much the same story, still getting the cyst activity, although I did manage to go a week with out one awhile back. But I figure this is a marathon and not a sprint, so if it gets me closer to not having to deal with them, I can live with it for awhile longer. And others have it much much worse, so that helps keep me in perspective.

Dry, chapped lips is my wort side effect... aquaphor works great at night, but during the day I can't keep it or blsitex on and the lips are very shriveled by evening. I also itch all over from the dry skin, but no flaking. I did get some red dry skin on my neck and hands last week, but after a few days of moisturizing like crazy, they cleared up.

Get my blood work done on monday, derm visit on wednesday. I'm going to try to talk him into switching me to another antibiotic as the doxycycline is not working very well. Can't wait until the days of pills is history.

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DAY 114

Wow! Over two months since the last update. And over 16 weeks on this stuff.

Unfortunately, it has been the same story over the last 60 days. I don't think I have gone more than a day or two without cyst(s). As soon as the derm injects one group, another group appears a day later, as if on cue. It's as frustrating as it can be.

My initial optimism has given way to being pragmatic. I'm starting to resign myself that this first course isn't going to do the job. I was intially to do a 20 week couse, but the derm may extend it to 24, but that's the max he will do without taking off 8-10 weeks. I wish there was some progress, but other than chapped lips, aching joints, and a very red face at times, I don't have much to show for this adventure.

But it could be a lot worse, so I'm thankful for that. And it is great to read about this stuff working for folks who do have it worse than I do.

And the beat goes on.

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Whoa, congrats, day 114! Can't wait until I'm at day 114 :wub:

Sorry your skin isn't doing as well as you'd like ! But I have heard of people who don't totally clear until AFTER their course ends. Maybe that will be the case for you!

How much more time do you have on tane? Are you for sure doing the 24 week course?

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Hi cincibrad...

You must not give up now....

BE STRONG okkk..

I am having lots of breakout as well..

Very horrible.. trust me..

Just hold on there..

Give you some encouragement... :comfort:

Lots of HUGSSSS..

Hope you are feeling better..

Corrine

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corrine_1980 Thanks for the encouragement. I'm in it for the long haul, it would just be nice to see a little progress. Good luck to you as well.

TennesseeGrl Wow, a reply from the famous poster/moderator. :) I read a few of the other logs and see your comments all over the place... and I can't believe how many pages you have on yours. Where do you find the time? Anyways... that's good to hear that some don't get better until after their course ends, but I'd just like to see some progress.... even a tiny bit. Month 5 ends May 26th... guess I will know a couple of weeks before that (when I need to get bloodwork) if I will go six months. From your log, it sounds like you are doing well... congrats. And thanks for the comment.

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Brad!

Long time no see! I recall that we started at about the same time. I'm sorry that you haven't had the results that you hoped for, but don't lose heart. I've read of people who didn't clear up until after their course was over. Maybe you'll be one of those?

Keep us posted on your progress, OK?

P&W

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P&W... thanks for the positive comments. Boy do I wish I had your results, but there is still time for me, not all hope has been lost yet.

TennesseeGrl... glad to make you happy! :) Today the face is better. I got a couple injections yesterday and the cysts look like they are finally going down... they have been pretty stubborn and have been injected multiple times. And so far, no new ones have popped up. If I could go even a couple of days with no actuvity, I'd be happy. Baby steps.

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Hi Brad..

Good luckk..

Good that you don't have new bies.. ^_^

I also had a few injections on my cysts last time(during my 3-4 weeks).. but it is making me worse instead so I stopped it and let this Accutane do its job..

Will come here and check out your log.. keep posting ok ok :)..

Good luckk..

Hope clear skin will come soon..

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Holy crap, so many injections! To be honest, that scares me to death! Having someone put a needle in my face and inject stuff into my cysts... AHHHH!! I hope you stop getting cysts soon so you don't have to worry about it anymore!

Happy Sunday!

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21 weeks down, 3 to go! :clap:

Had my derm appointment on Friday... while a month ago I was hoping he would let me go a full six months (26 weeks), he only added two more weeks to get me to 24... he doesn't believe in going more than 24. And he got no argument from me.

While each of the side effects I have aren't major on their own, the combination of them is starting to get old and more intense... my lips are soooo dry and hard to keep moisturized... my skin is dry and fragile, it gets irritated very easily and takes forever to heal... my joints randomly hurt... and my face is very sensitive to light and gets very red at times. :redface: I'm ready to get back to "normal".

With the cysts, things have settled down some recently... for most of my course, it has remained constant action, one after another. Over the last month, the activity level has slowed. I have one area where my nose meets the cheek that just won't give up, but everywhere else has been clear. I'm still hopeful, but realistic too that one course may not be enough.

Despite the cumulative side effects, if I have to go on a second course later this year, I will. And I have no qualms in recommending this drug... my fear of the side effects was way overblown. It has only been toward the end here that I have started to tire of them.

The journey continues. :unsure:

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And then it was over... popped my last pill this morning. :clap:

I wish I could say it cleared me up 100%, but no such luck. Things have settled down and gotten better towards the end, so I am very anxious to see what happens over the next couple of months. I have a couple of stubborn areas and have some remnants from old injection sites that I am hoping will heal once my skin gets back to "normal"... time will tell.

No regrets at all though... wish I would have done this years ago. The side effects, while tiresome at the end, were nothing compared to my fears of what they would be. While no doubt some people have had a bad time on this drug, I think the hype of the side effects is way overblown. If this course doesn't work, I'd willingly try a second one.

It will be very odd not taking a pill tonight. And for the first time since I was a teenager, I will not be using anything (cream, gel, pills, etc.) for acne. It never crossed my mind at my derm appointment yesterday to ask if I should start back on differin or something like that. When I started this, I had hoped to get to where I didn't need anything on a regular basis... now if only my skin will cooperate.

The accutane part is over for now, but the journey continues. To be continued.

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