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Old 06-23-2012, 08:53 AM   #1
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adults on accutane/isotretinoin?

hi, everyone. i'm a 31 y/o female, and i just started claravis (isotretinoin, generic accutane) yesterday. i actually took a round of accutane (before it was generic) when i was 15 with very good results. i had beautiful skin up until a few years ago when my acne came back, pretty much with the same severity as i had in puberty before i took accutane...my dermatologist told me that the earlier in life you take accutane, the greater the chances are that you will need a second round later in life. i always have lots of acne on my back, shoulders, chest, stomach, neck, and particularly around my jawline and hairline. i tend to get painful nodules on my chin and forehead, too. after trying several different rx washes, cleansing pads, and oral antibiotics with pretty much no results, i decided to go through the hassle of taking accutane again. i do understand the need for all the strict regulations for females taking accutane, but it is a bit annoying to be 31 and endure a lecture from the doctor, nurse, pharmacist, and ipledge website about how i absolutely cannot get pregnant while taking this medicine. i am childless by choice, and i've made it this far in life without ever getting pregnant because i always take responsible precautions, so i'm pretty sure i can protect myself for 4-5 months on the medicine without a million lectures. but when i look beyond the hassle of the lectures, the monthly pregnancy tests, the dry skin and eyes, the cracks i know i'll get in the corners of my mouth, etc, i am hopeful that taking accutane now at this point in my life will mean i won't have to worry about acne ever again!

any other adults out there who are taking or who have taken accutane? just wondering if the experience of taking it as an adult is any different than taking it as a teenager. also curious as to whether taking it as an adult yields permanent results. my only concern now at my age is the risk of the dangerously high cholesterol/triglyercide levels...liver function is not usually a concern for teenagers, but i know it can be a factor as a person gets older. all my liver function tests before i started the accutane were normal, and my dermatologist said that the liver effects are genetically linked, so if i didn't have those side effects when i took it at 15, i shouldn't have it now either.

 
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Old 06-25-2012, 07:11 AM   #2
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Re: adults on accutane/isotretinoin?

just posting an update for anyone following along with my accutane experience...i am on day 4 and definitely starting to get some dryness and itchiness, which is exciting because it means the medication is working! i can tell that i am going to need to invest in a very good moisturizer and chapstick today! i was worried that i'd initially have a complete breakout all over (worse than my usual breakouts), as this generally happens in the first few days of taking accutane, but i only had just a couple more pimples on day two that are now starting to dry out. my dermatologist said i'd probably take a 6-month round this time, but i'm hoping for more like 4 or 5...my copay for the medication isn't much, but the monthly visits to the doctor and the labs are the expensive part for me.

 
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Old 06-29-2012, 03:19 PM   #3
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Thumbs up Re: adults on accutane/isotretinoin?

It is good to hear from an adult.

I had a few pimples as a teen but nothing serious, and now at age 49 I have some serious acne for the first time in my life!

I struggled with it and tried EVERYTHING until finally I was put on Accutane.
I have not had any new cysts or nodules but find my skin is healing very very slowly.

I am just 2 days into my second month on the stuff.
I have red marks and open sores from zits I had before I started!!

I am now trying Bio-Oil topically and taking Fish Oil, Vitamin C and Vitamin B. Oh and loads of moisurizer and lip balm! The dry lips are insane!!

Good luck to you, keep us posted!

 
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Old 06-29-2012, 07:56 PM   #4
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Re: adults on accutane/isotretinoin?

hi, thanks for posting your reply! after a week on accutane, i am having much more initial breakout on my face and neck, but it seems like as soon as the pimples pop up, they start drying out. in the past week, i've probably had as many pimples pop up on my face as i would have had in an entire month, but i already see a big improvement on my chest and back! those pimples are really drying out quickly! my major dryness seems mostly confined to my face at this point, although i definitely feel more dry all over, and i have to use lotion on my hands as soon as i wash them or my skin will be very dry. carmex and cetaphil soap and face lotion are my good friends now! oh, and moisturizing eye drops! i'm also noticing that if i'm outside in the sun for more than about 10 minutes, my skin feels like it is burning...i live in florida, and i know from my experience with my first round of accutane that i have to be careful about the sun. i made the mistake of going to a waterpark for an entire day while i was on accutane as a teenager, and i don't even have words to describe the pain of that sunburn, even though i slathered myself in sunscreen! just stay inside as much as possible until you're off the stuff, trust me!!

i do remember getting to about the half-way point of my first round of accutane, about where you're at now, and constantly feeling like i had the worst possible sunburn + windburn on my face. the peeling lips were terrible, and i remember the raw flaking skin all around my mouth, plus bleeding cracks in the corners of my mouth...i know that's coming for me! i'm willing to tough it out through that stage, though, because i really want to be able to wear a tank top or spaghetti strap dress without feeling horribly embarrassed! i was able to also give up wearing foundation after my first round of accutane because my skin tone was so even and beautiful! that would be nice this time around, too!

Last edited by hizzy; 06-29-2012 at 07:58 PM.

 
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Old 06-30-2012, 09:03 AM   #5
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Re: adults on accutane/isotretinoin?

Hi! Thanks for your reply!
So just today I woke up to some healing of those red sores, yay! It looks better! they are healing!
The effect of the sun is really mind boggling isnt it!?I live in semi-desert in an area called the Okanagan. We are having a very crummy start to summer but I am thankful this year. on those few sunny days we have had where it has gotten up into the 80F or 90F's I feel like I am burning almost right away, just like you said.
Did you experience any mood changes, or any other side effects besides the dryness? I do, for the most part, appreciate the dryness. It's doing it's thing to get rid of the acne.
I noticed I felt down when I first started. maybe even a little moody
but I think that has stabilized.
Not wearing foundation would be amazing!!!!

 
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Old 06-30-2012, 01:47 PM   #6
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Re: adults on accutane/isotretinoin?

glad you are starting to see some healing! i woke up to some serious redness today -- my whole face looks quite irritated, but actually doesn't feel that bad; still just expected dryness. i have quite a few nodules and papules on my face and neck, but i'm just on day 9 of the medication, so this must still be part of my initial breakout. no new breakouts on the rest of my body (chest and back have been my main trouble), so that's exciting!

i took accutane back in 1996, way before accutane started being linked to mood changes. i actually live about 30 minutes from tampa where in 2002, a teenager crashed a plane into a building in downtown tampa, inspired by the 9/11 attacks, and allegedly due to mood changes caused by accutane. that's when the FDA here in the US listed mood changes as a potential side effect. i don't remember having any mood changes when i took accutane at 15, and so far on this round, i don't notice any either. my dermatologist said that he doesn't believe accutane actually causes mood changes. he feels that because accutane is mostly prescribed to teenagers who are a population already at increased risk for mood disturbances, that accutane gets a bad wrap for causing mood problems that teenagers probably would have experienced even without taking the medication. it makes sense to me. have you noticed any mood changes?

was your cholesterol and triglyceride level monitored in the beginning? i have to go for a 2-week lab check this coming friday to check my liver function, then again two weeks after that. but if the tests are normal at the 4 week mark, i don't have to have that checked again. hoping that since i didn't have liver side effects the first time i took the med, i won't this time either!

 
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Old 06-30-2012, 08:15 PM   #7
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Re: adults on accutane/isotretinoin?

I just started on Clavaris today. I am 36 and have had acne off and on my entire life. I was on the pill for many years and skin was clear. After I had my son 3 years ago, the cysts have come back in full force. I can't stand it lately and every month it seems to be worse. The derm thinks mine is hormonal. I also get it on back and they are very painful. I just had 3 injected with cortisone the other day before starting.

I am very nervous to start Accutane but I know so many people that have taken it. Just wondering if the hype is all due to people that had babies while taking it before the pharm company and FDA knew there could be birth defects. Does anyone know the full history?

Anyway, I am curious to see how it will go for me. Still nervous about taking it.

 
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Old 07-01-2012, 06:18 AM   #8
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Re: adults on accutane/isotretinoin?

hi! i can certainly assure you that if i were concerned about serious side effects from accutane, i would not be taking it for a second time in my life. i have several friends who took it in high school or college with no issues other than the expected bothersome side effects of dryness. i'm actually less concerned about taking accutane than taking an antibiotic long-term for my acne. i took doxycycline for about a year and a half, but it really only minimally helped my acne, and i've had residual issues with my bowels, which i am convinced are because the good bacteria in my gut was killed off by the antibiotic (probiotics have helped with this). there is also the possibility that if i need to take a tetracycline-baed antibiotic in the future for an infection, it won't be as effective. i was also prescribed minocycline for my acne, but i had a side effect of severe vertigo...so terrible i couldn't get out of bed. for me, taking accutane is MUCH less frightening than all of that, and i wish i'd never agreed to taking antibiotics for so long. the only side effects i experienced before and am experiencing now are minimally bothersome, but not dangerous. i would think that this is the case for most people who take it...if the benefits did not outweigh the risks, the drug would not be on the market. the main concern is avoiding pregnancy while taking it, but if you're 36, have taken birth control successfully, and are careful, that shouldn't be an issue...i think that most of the pregnancies while on accutane have happened to teenagers because they aren't experienced with birth control. to me, absolutely best benefit is that in 4-6 months, you're done with the med and your acne is essentially cured!

 
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Old 07-01-2012, 10:52 PM   #9
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Re: adults on accutane/isotretinoin?

I have had some mood swings for sure. I am working hard to combat them with vitamins and exercise.
I have to have bloodwork done once a month every month that I am on it!! Maybe my age has something to do with that. of course things could be different in Canada as well.
I am allergic to Tetracycline unfortunately so it isn't even an option! I am just hoping this works! (and pretty confident that it will) I can't believe I am going to be staying out of the sun all summer though! It will be different

My chest back and arms are pretty bad actually,some new breakouts but no new breakouts on my face. It's interesting that we are all different

I wish we had the generic form, it's probably less expensive!

rutgerjen, are you starting soon? let us know how it goes!

 
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Old 07-02-2012, 11:59 AM   #10
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Re: adults on accutane/isotretinoin?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Fiche View Post
I have had some mood swings for sure. I am working hard to combat them with vitamins and exercise.
I have to have bloodwork done once a month every month that I am on it!! Maybe my age has something to do with that. of course things could be different in Canada as well.
I am allergic to Tetracycline unfortunately so it isn't even an option! I am just hoping this works! (and pretty confident that it will) I can't believe I am going to be staying out of the sun all summer though! It will be different

My chest back and arms are pretty bad actually,some new breakouts but no new breakouts on my face. It's interesting that we are all different

I wish we had the generic form, it's probably less expensive!

rutgerjen, are you starting soon? let us know how it goes!
fiche, today i am perhaps noticing that my "fuse" is shorter than usual. i am normally quite patient and good at recognizing when it's okay to voice my opinion and when i should just let things go because they aren't a big deal. my tongue is a little bit sharp today! but i can't fully attribute that to the accutane because i am tired from a very busy weekend and stressed about a hectic week at work. just something i will monitor.

now starting to get to some major dryness and itchiness all over! i bought neosporin lip therapy this weekend, and it is THE BEST! i highly recommend it! cetaphyl lotion is starting to burn a lot, though! do you have a lotion that you like that is soothing??

i am curious about the regulations in canada, because they are SO STRICT here in the US. have to register with the FDA, get an official patient ID number that is registered with the FDA, answer questions every month about my understanding of birth control before i can go pick my prescription, see the doctor every month! every pill in the blister pack has a little punch out of paper that reminds you not to get pregnant! maybe i can post a picture of it.

as for the liver enzymes, it seems like when i took accutane 16 years ago, i did have to have a monthly blood test, but i don't know if they were checking liver enzymes each month or just doing a blood pregnancy test. i know that this go-round, after the first month, i only have to have a urine pregnancy test. thank goodness! i hate getting poked!

i am allergic to erithromycin drugs, so i couldn't take those for my acne!

if i did not have private insurance here in the US, the generic of accutane, called claravis, would be about $250/month! my insurance copay is thankfully only $30/month. i could not afford it without insurance! we have a couple other generics as well...amnesteem and sotret are the other names i know of. name brand accutane is no longer manufactured in the US.

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Old 07-02-2012, 04:48 PM   #11
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Re: adults on accutane/isotretinoin?

Hey Hizzy!
My blister pak has those little "pregnant belly" reminders as well! It makes me chuckle!
I read on a beauty blog that eye serum is a good lip moisturizer and I have been trying that with good results. Throughout the day I am just using a lip balm called Carmex, and Lypsol. When I run out I will look for the Neosporin one for sure!
I really know nothing about the FDA but I do know you guys ALWAYS get the good stuff before us! We'll see it on tv commercials for a year before we see it here.
I have an unscented lotion the Dr. recommended and it is in at the drugstore waiting for me to pick it up, can't remember what it was called. something really unimaginative like Aqueous lotion or some such thing.

Day 37 and counting!!

 
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Old 07-05-2012, 06:26 AM   #12
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Re: adults on accutane/isotretinoin?

now have patches of very small red itchy bumps on my cheeks and forehead that resemble tiny pimples, so i don't know if this is part of my initial break-out still or if it is from the dryness. could also be the facial lotion i was using because it very much burned my skin...i will look for the unimaginitive lotion you mentioned or try aveeno since i've used it before with good results. should have bought it to begin with! i'm also having a lot of itching over my arms and tummy, but it seems to be relieved for a while by using lotion, so i'm guessing that's part of the dryness from my sebaceous glands shutting down...i don't think it's an allergic reaction because it seems like that would have happened right away, not two weeks into the medication. had a minor nosebleed yesterday and the day before, so i am obviously starting to dry out! sounds yucky, but i've been coating the inside of my nose with neosporin a couple times a day...a trick i learned on my first round of accutane. it really helps!

i don't know if accutane can make your hair grow faster, but it certainly seems like mine is! i colored my hair about 3 weeks ago, before i started the medication, and i already have very visible roots -- usually that doesn't start to happen until 5-6 weeks after i color my hair! also, i feel like i could shave my legs twice a day and still have stubble a few hours later! don't remember that being the case on my first round of accuntane as a teen, but i didn't color my hair back then or shave very often.

i go for my two week labs tomorrow morning, so i should know then whether i'm having any liver side effects, although i doubt that i am...feeling completely normal digestionally speaking!

 
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Old 07-06-2012, 07:11 PM   #13
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Re: adults on accutane/isotretinoin?

So I started on 40 mg on Saturday and I had awful side effects on Monday-out of it, dizzy, stomach pain... I told my derm and he told me to do every other day. I feel better and it's really working. I am just worried bc I had such strong side effects. How bad can this be for my body?

 
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Old 07-08-2012, 08:48 AM   #14
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Re: adults on accutane/isotretinoin?

rutgergen...I also have concerns over how bad this drug really is, but fortunately like hizzy, I have had no gastro-intestinal issues so lucky I guess. Many weird itchy bumpy skin issues though. blisters on my clavicle(collarbone)one day, 3 skin tags sprouted on my inner arm one day (yes they are still there) itchy sorta pimles on my chest back and upper arms . most of them have become open sores which dont heal very quickly...I have to make sure I keep using that cream! It is something the drug store buys in bulk and it is called aqueous cream, still unimaginative. my lips are still crazy dry. I have to keep lotion or balm on them continuously. I am going to have to try the neosporin for the nose, it is nasty *****ly dry as well.

I had ONE new cystic or nodular pimple the other day (PMS time) but it does seem to be drying up way faster than they did before, so this is promising!!

Today we are going to get up to 37C which is about 104-105F and I have stuff to do outside (my dad died yesterday, not looking for sympathy, just sayin) so I have to go deal with some things. slathering on the SPF and limiting my exposure. we are also getting smoke from a fire in Colorado....(to add to the dry throat etc)wish me luck.

 
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Old 07-10-2012, 01:40 PM   #15
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Re: adults on accutane/isotretinoin?

actually 37C is only 100F....40C is 104F which we got up to yesterday, lol. I have managed to avoid getting sunburned this time (so far)

 
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