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Experiences of Accutane (Roaccutane/Isotretinoin)

  • Strictly No Discussion! This is purely a page of real life accutane experiences. Please only post your own personal experiences of the drug roaccutane/accutane/isotretinoin. Try one of the other boards if you want to talk about the experiences here.

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    From: Holly in Canada. A 24 year old Female.
    Subject: Accutane Worked
    Date: 12/12/2012 at 18:10 - Message #1008

    This is my experience with Accutane as it happened. Best thing I have ever done. It was very hard to get through, and I had some slight depression on it, but it changed my life.
    3 weeks: The flaking. Oh the flaking. Almost unbearable. The breakouts were bad. Big, red, deep pimples showing up all over. My face was at its worst. And the dryness! My skin felt so tight and itchy and uncomfortable. My mouth and eyes were so dry they felt pasty. I couldn’t drink enough water.
    My regular moisturizer wasn’t cutting it. I went to the pharmacy and got a heavy-duty night cream by laroche possay. By applying it a few times a day, I could stave off most of the itch. And it helped camouflage the flaking. I wanted badly to exfoliate, but I kept hearing warnings not to since it would just irritate my skin more. So I stuck to gently dabbing my skin clean with a soft washcloth and warm water.
    By now I had to do something before going out to not be totally embarrassed by my skin, so much skin was coming off it looked like a flaky pastry. Makeup only made it look worse and drier. But I had to cover up the massive breakouts. I finally found that after cleansing, 2 applications of moisturizer and a moisturizing mousse foundation did the trick without drying out the flakes too much. I carried more moisturizer to pat down the flakes during the day.
    5 Weeks: The flakes, breakouts and embarrassment kept going, with bigger and deeper acne pushing its way out. Every day there was a new red, flaming pimple, and they took a lot longer to clear out than they did to come up. Bad acne appeared on my chest, shoulders and upper arms where there wasn’t as much before.
    7 weeks: Acne had started to calm down by week 7. One day, I touched my face and noticed, aside from the peeling and zits, it was starting to have an odd, rough bumpy feel. Not like acne bumps, but rough like it was covered in sand. A few days later I was examining my skin in the mirror. I took a good close look, and discovered something unbelievable. On my cheeks, every single pore had in its place a tiny hard bump. I was freaking out. What was happening to my skin? I scratched a bit at it, and some of them began to fall. So I squeezed one. A long, hard, pore-width cylinder of candle-wax like sebum slid out with ease. I realized what was happening. Every single “pore” I thought I had, was completely filled with waxy, hard sebum. The pores had been clogged for so long they had stopped being pores and started being wax-containers. And now it was being pushed or “grown out” as the skin was rapidly flaking off and being replaced from underneath.
    My cheeks and nose were the first to go. Oh, how hard it was to keep myself from squeezing that crap out of my now sensitive, delicate skin. My dermatologist had warned me against damaging the new tender skin that was growing out so fast. After that, my forehead. My chin and jawline next. It was like someone was pushing play-dough through a colander. I was ashamed to go out. But after the horror the idea passed, I was ecstatic. And then something amazing happened one hot summer day – my face began to sweat. For the longest time, I just thought I didn’t sweat from my face. Every time I went to the gym, my face would become red and irritated and bumpy. I thought it was just from the exertion. No. It was my swollen sweat glands trying to push water out of my wax-filled pores. My face had been clogged with sebum for so long I had forgotten what it felt like to sweat. Now, dewy perspiration appeared on my forehead, cheeks, even upper lip. I purposely went for a run that muggy hot summer night. I almost cried as I felt the sweat beading on my brow. Never has a girl been so happy to feel sweat running down her face. As I ran my face felt cool and tingly instead of feeling hot, itchy, swollen and irritated.
    After week 9, everything started getting better. I am Acne free a year later!


    From: malarkeyandblues in U.K.. A 27 year old female.
    Subject: roaccutane
    Date: 29/07/2012 at 15:16 - Message #1007

    I thought I would mention a little bit about my experience about roaccutane, as I also read a lot about it before taking the drug and it helped to read others' experiences of it.
    I had moderate acne, which could sometimes flare up and get worse. I had tried other drugs, such as zineryt (topical) and various oral drugs, which sometimes worked, but I found that they soon wore off.
    I had asked my doctor for a referral to the dermotologist when cystic spots were appearing on my cheeks, and I was aware that if they continued I could be left with some scarring. This made me very unhappy and I used to be perpetually pre-occupied with my skin and my appearance.
    After one trip to the dermotologist they basically told me that my skin was not bad enough to be referred for roaccutane, but to come back for a 'review' after a few weeks. I went back to the dermotologist a second time and they then referred me to the hospital to start the roaccutane programme. I have a feeling that i was purposefully turned away on the 1st occasion, as I think with the drug being so strong, these dermotologists have to show that they are being very rigid in who they allow to take the drug.
    So first of all I had all the routine tests done (blood/cholestral etc) and they check your height/weight in order to get the dosage right. Then i picked up the tablets from the hosital's on site chemist. I was very nervous about taking the drug, as I had heard some negative things about it (I'm sure you will have heard about the side effects). However, I didn't have any problems with it at all really. I found my lips dried out abit, and i just made sure i applied lip salve. And my hair dried out too, which I do have to say took awhile to bounce back. I didn't notice too much at the time, but it did thin my hair, and some of my hair at the very bottom of my head must've (unnoticeably) fallen out, as some time later after taking the drug i noticed that some strange looking hair was growing back; by strange looking i mean the texture was quite different to my normal hair - it actually grew back curly underneath(until it was long, and the weight of it then straightened it out). Even now the texture is still abit different underneath, but overall my hair is back to normal, although perhaps not quite as thick as it was, but I cannot say for certain if this was due to roaccutane, or just an age thing.
    Other than that I had no other side-effects. My skin improved dramatically and now I have clear skin the majority of the time. I do have small spots on the sides of my chin most months, which I get as part of my mentrual cycle. And very occasionally (and by this i'm talking maybe every 3-4 months) i may get a more lumpy spot on my cheeks, but this is so infrequent, and the spot seems to go quicker than before taking roaccutane, and does not scar either.
    I personally, am very satisfied with this drug. I can only speak from my own experience however, as with most things, we can all react differently. However, by sharing these experiences, it may help others to make a more knoweledgeable and informed decision to choose whether to take this drug.


    From: Ross in Suffolk, United kingdom. A 20 year old Male.
    Subject: My experience
    Date: 08/09/2011 at 11:26 - Message #1006

    Having suffered from mild to moderate acne since my early teens, I was getting fed up when I was at university and I still woke up most mornings with horrible spots. I saw my GP and they prescribed me lymecycline for about six months, which didn't do much, then doxycycline and tretinoin gel, which had minimal effect again.
    Eventually i agreed to be referred to dermatology where the consultant started me on 30mg/day isotretinoin. This was a low dose for me because it was during my exam period and the doctor didn't want me to be annoyed by side effects. This worked quite well. It cleared up my back and face by about 60-70% i'd day within 4 weeks. I didn't really have any side effects apart from fatigue and dry lips.
    After about 3 months I finally got another appointment at the hospital (long wait in the NHS) where he increased my dose to 60mg a day for a few weeks to start of with. Almost immediately things were different. I have always been a very stable, grounded and happy person but I started to feel very anxious in social situations and very moody with everyone. Also i suffered from really bad knee pain. Two weeks later, I didn't want to continue anymore and stopped because of my mood and fatigue. By this point I had taken 30mg/day for about 3 months and 60mg/day for roughly 16 days. Approx. cumulative dose 44mg/kg which I believe is nowhere near complete.
    The results seem quite good though. I have a very clear back, shoulders and face.The doctor at the hospital told me not to worry that it will come back because it rarely does, even when the course isn't quite done? When I wake up I almost never have any spots and my skin feels nice and smooth. Perhaps more importantly now i've stopped I feel normal again. I would recommend the treatment to people but if possible I'd tell them to time it right to avoid times when they would already be under stress like exams or important work.


    From: Ben in South Africa. A 30 year old Male.
    Subject: Oratane
    Date: 04/03/2011 at 14:52 - Message #1005

    Hi there acneacs!!
    Oratane is working wonders for me its been for about a month, my face has improved. A month ago i was the King of the acniac world. Have minor side effects dry skin and back pain. 40mg per day abt 65Kg on for 2months. I tone my skin twice a day use cotton wool remove dead skin with an exfoliater/toner. face wash too remove bacteria off the skin and a moisturizer that is got a sunscreen. please dont mind my English its my second language. Hope everyone gets clear. hang inn there all goood things cums to those who wait LOL!! For depression my take on this is: Because we are so concius think about the improvement day and night we compare ourselves to other people who had never had acne, i mean you an acne free person u get worried why you got. you start seing lots of people who dont have acne the percentage is 1:500000 perhaps that is why for me am so depressed since i took the initiative to solve my acne problem. But i noticed that i should just believe its gonna work and it will with time. Anyway if it does not work cool its not lyk am gonna be beaten up lyf goes on. By the way we got lyf to live besides being concern about acne problems. I dont mean to be rude to anyone. All can say is good luck to anyone who is on this drug it gets worse b4 it gets better. am better for now I realy appriciate that.
    GOOD LUCK ACNIACS!!! THY SHALL GET A PARTNER TO HELP ORATANE WORK EVEN FAST, HAVE SEX DAY AND NIGHT. ENJOY URSELF.


    From: gloria in el paso. A 39 year old female.
    Subject: accutane
    Date: 20/01/2010 at 21:04 - Message #1004

    for me, Accutane has been great. I did have some side effects like dry lipsm bleeding nose and extremely dry skin. But overall, my face looks good! I don't have the constant oiliness on my face and do not have new blemishes. I am up to 120mg once a day. I have some joint pains as well. No mood changes here.


    From: Mariana.
    Date: 02/05/2009 at 22:32 - Message #1003

    Accutane was practically a miracle for me! In my twenties I suffered from moderate cystic acne and had no relief with any other prescription topical or oral medication. After spending time and a lot of money to try laser acne treatments (which didn't work at all and hurt extremely bad) I finally decided to try accutane. Other than dry skin and chapped lips, I had no other side effects. Within a month I experienced a significant decrease in my number of breakouts, and after four months I was acne free. It is now five years later, and I am still cyst/acne free (with the occasional black-head as the only exception)!! People will try to scare you about the side effects, but if you are psychologically stable and medically cleared, I strongly recommend this treatment.


    From: stewart in Cairns ,Australia. A nearly 40 year old male.
    Subject: roaccutane
    Date: 15/11/2008 at 09:24 - Message #1002

    I had accute cystic acne as a teenager and went through all the treatments prior to roaccutane.I had thumbnail size cysts on my face neck chest and back. I also had larger "dormant" sebacious cysts on my back.These were obviously inherited from my father. I went on 2 courses at 0.5mg/kg.Within days I had a flush of red on my face and a highly increased sensitivity to sunburn(8-10 minutes to burn in 10am sun in Cairns in spring). The facial cysts gradually decreased in size over 8 to 12 mnths. My skin became dry around the cheeks near the nose and on my forearms.It took 4 years for the worst of my chest lumps to subside and another 4 for the back ones to dissappear. About 10 years after taking roaccutane I experienced depression and it still happens on and off.I still suffer from the occasional chest lump.During the height of my worst lump years the pain from them was like a bee sting if brushed against.I still sunburn very easily and have very bad scarring on my face and neck.Throughout the life after roaccutane I discovered if you moisturise it can make things bad again or the same if you wash too much with any soaps. I reckon the oil glands go-"oh gee the skin is too dry" so they try & produce more oil again which then builds up in other areas or the skin is too moist so i'll stop it altogether for a short while resulting in very dry other places. Roaccutane was a godsend for me in these critical teenage years but damn you must be on the ball with it.


    From: Laurel in Florida. A 35 year old Female.
    Subject: accutane
    Date: 14/04/2008 at 14:05 - Message #1001

    To everyone who is starting accutane or is thinking of it, Each person has a different reaction to any medication. Many side effects are common to all, and others are less common, yet there is a certain percentage of people who will be affected. That said, at 35 years old (and a nurse besides) I couldn't fathom why I still had acne- and it was getting worse not better. I tried everything, proactive, antibiotics, creams, washes- natural remedies, to no avail. I can't say accutane has been a "miracle", but it has crtainly helped. I have had many side effects, namely the dryness and itching. For my lips I alternate between vaseline moisturing lip therapy with SPF 15 and Chapstick naturals avacado oil with SPF- they have helped. The best thing is to get something with sunscreen in it. The accutane makes you more sensitive to the sun. For your hair I recommend any leave in conditioner- I use infusium 23- but I'm sure any would do. The body itching is the hardest for me to deal with. This is my 12th week on accutane (80 mg) and I itch so bad on my hands and wrists, I think I'll scratch all the skin off- topical caladryl helps and baths with aveeno are good too, but they don't offer lasting relief. If you take a benedryl at night it helps too, but do not use it at the same time as topical caladryl.
    Another BIG issue for me was mood changes- not as in depression, but anger- I had a big incident at work and it nearly cost me my job- but I showed them I was on accutane, and it was written up- (they can't fire you if the problem is due to a drug side effect)- however- make sure to tell your derm if this happens- he changed my dose to 60 mg.
    Along with the mood changes is since accutane users are more sensitive to the sun, we stay out of it. Well, duh, we need sunlight to convert vitamin D and the effect of too little vitamin D aside from bone effects is depression and irritability. So I have been putting SPF 50 on and going into the sun for 10-15 minutes per day (mid- moring or late afternoon- not the high noon burn your face off times)it has really helped the moods- not so great for the rashes tho- but if you cover your arms with a light shirt it does wonders.
    As for ANYONE who is contemplating getting pregnant. Accutane is not for you. I am very sorry to read of those on here who've had that unforunate experience. Because there is no fixing the defects caused by accutane, the only decision is to abort- that is why there is DO NOT GET PREGNANT labels all over the med and why they make women agree to using two forms of birth control.
    The red spots everyone is talking about when the skin peels is actually a good sign- it is "new skin" and is replacing what is peeling away. Don't pull the dead skin away though. Use a very mild exfoliator. I also use the skin repair cream from bath and body works and find alot less dryness and peeling on my face.
    So, there is hope to all out there who, like me hate the looks you get from people when you have acne. I am happy with my results so far. After 12 weeks on this, my face is mmuch clearer (I only have 3 new skin patches right now and no new breakouts) and the texture is much smoother. I know all the side effects are hard to deal with, but you can always ask for a lower dose and treat each problem symptomatically. Talk to your derm too. They have alot of tricks (like the aveeno and benedryl before you go to bed) that can help! Good Luck everyone!


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    Subject: college scholarship
    Date: 13/09/2007 at 18:19 - Message #1000
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