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honeymuffin

My Accutane Experience

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I first began experiencing spots at around the age of 11 or 12 and by 13 this had considerably worsened to become acne, byt the age of 16 I had exhausted all the shop products and tried numerous things from the doctor (including topical creams and gels, antibiotics and birth control pills). Although a few appeared to work primarily this was only short-term and soon my skin appeared to become tolerant to the product, so I was finally referred to the hospital and prescribed roaccutane by the dermatologist. This course of treatment successfully cleared up my acne with minimal side effects (dry lips and skin). However, although I remained clear for a while the spots slowly began to come back. I once again tried numerous shop products and those prescribed by the doctor but without success. Now, at the age of 20 I am once again taking a course of roaccutane to hopefully rid myself of acne for good. This second course proved to be quite a different experience in which I am experiencing much more prominant side effects, and it is because of this that I have been driven to reserach this medication and find out more about its use and effects. I was really suprised to find so much information on the web and have found the diary acccounts of fellow acne sufferers who have followed the same course of treatment to be most informing. To be able to relate to others in the same situation as myself makes you realise that you are not alone and also enables you to learn more about the effects of the drug in a more interesting way than a lost of facts. I therefore decided it would be helpful to me and others to recall my experience so that I can hopefully get feedback from others as well as give another insight into the experience of roaccutane. So here it is...

Week 1: (Sat 5th July - Fri 11th July)

I began with one 20mg tablet a day and as yet have not seen much of a change, no side effects or problems, if anything I'd say my spots appear to be getting worse!

Week 2: (Sat 12th July - Fri 18th July)

Spots are definately getting worse - lots of new ones appearing this week, particularly painful one on my upper lip - owiee! My lips are starting to get a bit dry and I have noticed an occasional bit of blood when I wipe my bum or blow my nose.

Week 3: (Sat 19th July - Fri 25th July)

I increased my dosage this week to 40mg a day, taken in two divided doses of 20mg. Not much change, spots appear to be slow healing but at least not getting too many more. Slightly dry eyes now accompany the dry lips, nose and bum.

Week 4: (Sat 26th July - Fri 1st August)

Spots are once again getting worse, particularly breaking out on the left side of my face with the large red bulging painful type, this includes my cheek and nose as well as forehead which are normally free of these type of spots. The dryness is much as before but have noticed a dull headache which seems to be fairly persistent although only minor.

Week 5: (Sat 2nd August - Fri 8th August)

Spots seem to be in a frozen state, getting neither better nor wose. However, the dryness seems to be increasing so that I am now applying vaseline to my lips about every two hours, each time having to scrape off the dead skin cells before application, my facial skin is possibility slightly dry but noticebaly. The only additional side effect to the dryness and minor headache is a slight lower back pain.

Week 6: (Sat 9th August - Fri 15th August)

What an eventful week! Made a BIG MISTAKE this week - I got my eyebrows and upper lip waxed - this really hurt and burnt my skin. However ater consulting the pharmasist at my local supermarket (Tesco's) I was advised to purchase Aqueous cream BP (£1.99). This sure is a miracle cream, I applied the cream with cotton pads very frequently (about every hour) and although at first it stung it would then soothe the skin, eventually the skin dried and peeled off and the redness faded and within the week I'm back to normal. As for the spots, no change until near the end of the week in which painful red bulging ones appeared on my forehead and right side of the face. I seem to be noticing a pattern; one week there won't be much change then the next week there will be more spots, this isn't very encouraging - I thought they were supposed to get better not worse and even if they may possibly get worse first then surely they shouldn't keep on doing so? As for the side effects, these seemed to have bumped up alot this week with my lips becoming even drier so that they tingle when I eat or drink and then need instant reaplication of vaseline, although I am now applying every hour anyway, skin and eyes are still both slightly dry as before but skin has also become itchy at times. The main new side effect I experienced this weeek was back and leg ache and tiredness, however this may be due to the excessive amount of walking I did this week which is different to normal. I have also found I feel alot more thirsty than normal an as a result of the increase of liquid intake I am having to urinate alot more often too which definately gets on your nerves after a while.

Week 7: (Sat 16th August - Fri 22nd August)

Breakout continues - more spots on chin, near my mouth and forehead, plus in places that I've not previously had them; my chest, back and bum, and also the blackheads on my nose seem to be coming more to the surface. The aches and pains have almost gone, only notice them during and after exercise (I regularly dance and so hope this will not be any more of a problem). I have noticed my skin becoming more sensitive, for example I began to feel that my bed sheet was really rough and so have begun to wear long sleeved and legged pyjamas. Bit fed up at the moment though, spots still seem to be getting worse, surely by now I should see improvement? and also although dry in other places my skin is not really - surely I should have dry skin? I'm not sure the medication is working enough to combat my acne. Also noticed my nails hand nails are breaking easier and my toe nails are becoming slightly discoloured at the edges. Eyes are now really red and dry so applying lots of eye drops, lips also are beginning to crack at the very corners, but my face is still not dry and my spots are definately GETTING WORSE!

Week 8: (Sat 23rd August - Friday 29th August)

Arghhh... spots still show no sign of improvement, in my opinion they appear to be stuck at this particularly bad level, although this lack of improvement may be an attribute to the time of the month. Started to take vitamin E supplements, although I don't know if this will help, but theres hope. Also tried Blistex for my lips instead of Vaseline as that started to get on my nerves as it is so greasy looking. By the end of week eight my lips have become worse but respond well to the Blistex, my acne doesn't appear to be showing improvement - new spots still appearing and old ones are taking a long time to shift, although my skin is now showing slight signs of dryness! my arms were dry but this was soon sorted out with moisturiser and my face is a bit dry in the eye and lower cheek area. Spots appear to get dry and then peel layer by layer so perhaps this is helping them go quicker??? however, they leave behind red marks that linger for aaaaaaaaagggggeeeesss. n Oh well, thats two months now maybe there will be some improvement soon?

Week 9: (Sat 30th August - Friday 5th September)

I think my acne may actually be starting to improve but it's hard to tell yet, but everytime I get a new spot it quite quickly gets dry and then starts to peel and peel until it is not there anymore, just a red mark - but I don't like these red marks and hope they will go eventually too. I feel like I'm becoming a bit of an expert in the area of treatment for dry lips: I have now tried Cocoa Butter lip stuff which although invisible, isn't very effective, vaseline was visible but worked better and but blistex is still the best, although if you put too much on then you can see it (white). Going back to the hospital to visit the derm on Tuesday - Im hoping for some more accutane at a higher dosage as I don't think its worked much yet.

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Week 9 cont...

Hooray - saw the derm today and although not very useful he did up my dose to 60mg to be taken all at once each day, so maybe now I'll start to see results and start to get rid of these horrible spots.

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dont get too discouraged..i didnt start getting really clear until the 5 or 6th month (i was on a 6 month cycle 80 mg a day)...too bad the acne returned in less than a month after that :)

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Week 10 (Saturday 6th August - Friday 12th September)

The increased dosage does not seem to be helping my acne, in fact I'd say it had got worse since the dosage increased - maybe a second breakout due to the increased dosage???? I've been getting alot of the big painful bulging red ones that come and stay for ages and quite a number of big whiteheads too - surely this isn't normal? I've found my face is getting drier in some areas though: my cheeks, chin and eye area, but my forehead shows no change. I've just started to use BP today but so far haven't noticed any difference. The dry lips and eyes persist as does the general overall dryness, menaing I moisturise more and drink alot more. Aches and pains are still quite frequent particularly after exercise (which I do fairly often) - it's like the aches that I'd have normally but would hardly notice, have been exaggerated so they hurt alot more. The headaches are now alot less frequent - mainly only after taking the tablets. So I guess that's it for now, I wish I had some improvement to detail but so far there isn't, at the mo my face is worse off than when I started but with added dryness :D

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Week 11 (Saturday 13th September - Friday 19th September)

Well this week hasn't been any different from the rest - my face is still as acne ridden as ever as well as dry. The acne appears to be no better or worse than last week with lots of the painful red bulging type taking ages to reach their full size at the surface and then just as long, if not longer to go, sometimes they will also come back to their full size two or three times, and, after departing leave red marks which look like spots sad.gif . I am also getting plenty of whiteheads, and have noticed that once I get one in one area then the area becomes a spot site and I will get like four or five more to replace it around the same spot for weeks and weeks. My face is getting drier - it is visually dry everywhere apart from my forehead so I now use Nivea Visage Oil Free Moisturiser with Vitamin E and UV protection to solve this problem - dryness is much easier to sort than the acne! The UV protection was very important because I have been getting burnt everytime my face sees the sun, even if its not for long or whilst travelling in the car, so hopefully this will prevent that. I am also taking vitamin E tablets everyday now to try and help with the scars that all these extra spots have been making since being on this roaccutane stuff. My arms have also become very dry, so that if I wear a black top you can see the dead skin shedded on it, so I am using Nivea intensive moisturising cream there and just a normal moisturiser on the rest of my body to prevent anymore dryness. Other than the aches and pains and headaches which are more prevalent after dancing and taking the tablets, I've also noticed that I sweat alot more and very easily but that this sweat is alot more watery-based rather than oily - anyone else noticed this? It may be because I'm drinking alot more, but its so embarassing to go bright red and sweat so much after just starting to exercise - it makes me look so unfit, which I know I'm not - anyone got any helpful hints? Well I guess thats all for now, I'm nearly upto three months so maybe I'll see some improvement soon.

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Week 12 (Saturday 20th September - Friday 26th September)

What can I say? nothing. Still no difference, acne as bad as ever. Why isn't this stuff working yet? it's getting me down now sad.gif

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dont give up man...i'm 2 weeks behind u(week 10)and i'm still having bad acne.For some people like us need more time to get good results.By the end of our treatment we will be clear as a mirror.Just think that and let accutane do its job.

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Week 13 (Saturday 27th september - Friday 3rd October)

Still no improvement sad.gif now getting spots alot on my cheeks and the side of my head next to my eyes where I don't normally get them. This stuff isn't working, it's making them worse.

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If you had dry skin to begin with, accutane will probably not help your acne. Accutan works by shinking oil glands so there is less oil for bacteria to build up in. If you have dry skin, and you still have acne, accutane probably wont help. Your dermatologist should have know that.

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Slight depression while on accutane is not uncommon. Suicidal depression is very rare. If you have been on accutane this long and are not having signs or depression, you probably wont. Also if you have been on it this long, i would stick with it, there are some people who dont get results until near the end of thier treatment.

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i dint have dry skin to begin with. my t-zone area was oily and the rest was normal. now spotty areas gt dry and peely and the rest is drier than b4 but not dry dry. and no, still no improvement

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Hello.

My first course of Accutane was at 80mg per day (I think 60 should have been enough). Skin cleared after about 4 months, but micro blemishes still appeared.

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Week 15 (Saturday 11th October - Friday 17th October)

I really don't want to speak to soon or jinx myself but I think i may b seeing a slight improvement as seem to b gettin slightly less spots now!!!!!!! I will just keep my fingers crossed that things are gonna get better still. However, my knee joints and back have been very achy lately and the dryness is keeping up.

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Week 16 (Saturday 18th October - Friday 24th October)

Things are definately better than they were - still gettin spots but none of the big painful ones and most of the ones I get now are in places where I don't normally get them and are in my opinion not-so-bad places to get them - like on the top of your head where they are covered by your hair. That's four months now so hopefully things will get better from now on in terms of the spots although side effcts are still pretty harsh, if anything I'd say I am getting even drier lately!

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HoneyMuffin, good post you got here. I am glad you are starting to see some improvements. My Derm told me that usually keep people on Accutane for 5 months at a time. I hope my acne starts clearing up before the 5 month mark. Later, Joe

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Week 17 (Saturday 25th October - Friday 31st October)

Spots are back :-( but I'm hoping its just because my period is due soon. Skin is getting more and more fragile and spots are scarring more too, and it seems to make it much more easier to injure yourself. Apart from that no other changes, so I guess I'll carry on waiting and seeing.

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thats a good question - just seen my derm today and he was very suprised that the accutane had had so little effect and gave me another 2months worth of stuff, he didn't say much else except he was suprised it hadn't been working

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Week 18 (Saturday 1st November - Friday 7th October)

Saw my derm this week and he seemed very suprised and baffled as to why my acne hadn't cleared up after four months on accutane so he gave me another two months worth of accutane at the same dosage. So... I guess the wait continues, hopefully they will clear soon. Side effects pretty much the same as always.

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Week 19 (Saturday 8th November - Friday 14th November)

Spots seem to slowly be getting better as only getting a few new ones at a time and they come less frequently, however the scars they make are really annoying and it makes me soooooooo achy after exercise.

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Week 20 (Saturday 15th November - Friday 21st November)

Face is soooo much better, not getting hardly any spots!!! however i'm sure the side effects are increasing too - very achy knee joints and back, very thirsty, very dry skin, lips... and headaches quite bad. But skin definately good!!!! Five months down!!! biggrin.gif/ biggrin.gif

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