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  • What are the real side effects of accutane?

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    Old 05-31-2007, 07:42 AM   #1
    unruhe
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    What are the real side effects of accutane?

    After twenty years of acne (I'm 28) my latest derm suggested Accutane. I've tried the creams, lotions, antibiotics, etc. and they have not worked.

    My research online revealed:

    1) Birth defects while on it. That's okay, I don't plan on getting pregnant. BUT: will it cause harm to a fetus even after the accutane treatment? I do know you have to wait a month before becoming pregnant. What about after that?

    2) Hair loss, sometimes permanent. That's scary, but it seems to be a side effect in only some cases. Right?!

    3) Joint aches and muscle pains. This makes sense to me, because if accutane "dries you out" it's like having a hangover, where you're all achy the next morning from dehydration. I've read that sometimes it's permanent joint pain even after stopping treatment. BUT: who are these people experiencing joint pain? Are they 60 pounds overweight and their joints are already stressed? Are they couch potatoes who never exercise?

    4) Chapped lips, dry skin, dry eyes. Is this something that can be alleviated by drinking a lot of water? People tend to be chronically dehydrated to start with.

    5) Libido problems, long term. Not even sure what to make of this claim.

    6) You cannot donate blood after taking even one dose of accutane. I find this interesting. The manufacturer of accutane says you can, yet the red cross will not accept it. Perhaps this is an instance of the red cross being overly cautious? You also can't give blood if you're ill (cold, flu).

    7) Depression and suicide. People are so lawsuit-happy these days, I don't put much credit into these claims. AND...acne is a depressing enough situation, liable to cause someone thoughts of suicide in itself.

    I'm hoping you will post and give me some real feedback on this. I can honestly say I've tried EVERYTHING else. I eat well, am healthy and I'm still plagued by acne. It's not severe, but it's persistant. Twenty years of worrying if I can wear a cute little top on Friday night because I might have a breakout is Twenty years too long.

     
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    Old 05-31-2007, 08:04 AM   #2
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    Re: What are the real side effects of accutane?

    Hi there,
    I've taken two courses of Accutane in the past. The first time, in 1998, was for severe cystic acne. I got really dry skin on the backs of my hands that was pretty well alleviated with a good moisturizer (I uced Eucerin) and chapped lips, but I applied lip balm continuously and it wasn't too bad. I didn't expererience ANY other side effects during that 6 month period.
    In 2000 I started to break out again--not nearly as bad as before, but my new dermatologist put me back on another course of Accutane, same dosage, and this time I didn't even get that much dry skin. No other side effects. I never experienced depression, aches, headaches, hair loss or anything. 7 years later, I'm doing great and have not seen any long-term issues from taking Accutane.
    Hope this helps. Good luck to you!

     
    Old 05-31-2007, 08:36 AM   #3
    Enj
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    Re: What are the real side effects of accutane?

    The side effects I got when taking accutane was..


    REALLY sore muscles after I played football, just for even 20 minutes. Do you do a lot of running? While on Accutane, even while playing football, I pretty much would struggle to walk as soon as I stopped running around. I found it hard to walk for a good 3 days after as well. I'm young though, I took the pain, and I enjoyed the football. (By the way, I really am not exaggerating about the pain...)

    REALLY dry skin (face, lips). If you do apply lip bam and moisturise your face often, then it should be OK. I didn't apply lip bam a lot because I was in school, and I didn't want to look like a ... My lips really looked bad though until it was the weekend, when they wouldn't really get dry. My eyes were actually sore a lot of the time, I know now it was the accutane then. (I didn't know this for sure, but I guessed it).

    You can't give blood, no.

    I wasn't really depressed. I was bored a lot of the time though.

    Another side effect that I had was bleeding noses. I would get them a lot.. I would just be eating my dinner, I wouldn't come close to touching my nose, and it would bleed.. (It really wasn't a little too, it was A LOT.. the accutane thins out the blood anyway, right? It wasn't clotting easily). Sometimes I would be in the bathroom for a good 20 minutes atleast trying to get it to stop. I got them every other day.

    Also, if you do go ahead, make sure to moisturise the sides of your mouth. I got a cut on each side (just because of talking) and no matter how much moisturiser I put on it, it didn't heal. (Well, it scabbed over, but of course I can't stop talking for a few days to wait for it to heal completely. So when I tried to talk, the scab would just crack open and it would get really sore again).

    I'm a boy, so I can't really tell you about the female side effects

    However, although the accutane didn't really help my face a lot, it helped my back AMAZINGLY. My back is now looking great, whereas before, literally spots covered about 3/5 of my back.

     
    Old 05-31-2007, 08:42 AM   #4
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    Re: What are the real side effects of accutane?

    Enj and desperate,

    Thanks for sharing. Enj, did the side effects go away completely once you stopped treatment?

    I should have stated earlier my face acne (while BAD years ago) is virtually nonexistant now. I'm clear, though scarred and still very oily.

    It's the body acne that plagues me. I have months where I'm clear and months when I'm a mess. I cannot seem to find any correlation to soaps, lotions, foods, nothing.

    I was unaware the blood issue was related to clotting. If that is the case, it makes perfect sense why the red cross would not want it. I thought it was more an issue of it being "tainted" or something.


    To readers: I assume people have had perfectly healthy children after treament? (Otherwise the FDA would have stepped in long ago..though I don't trust the FDA either...)

    Last edited by unruhe; 05-31-2007 at 08:43 AM.

     
    Old 05-31-2007, 08:46 AM   #5
    Enj
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    Re: What are the real side effects of accutane?

    The side effects completely went away for me after about 1 week. I was really happy.. (I play football a lot...).

    I've just turned 17 and my accutane course was 3 months long, so I took it at 16 years old.

    Accutane thins your blood. Raises your blood pressure, and raises the collestoral in your body also.

     
    Old 05-31-2007, 08:52 AM   #6
    unruhe
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    Re: What are the real side effects of accutane?

    I seem to have read some conflicting information about Accetane and donating blood.

    Some places say you can NEVER donate again. Others say you cannot donate while ON accutane, or for the month after you stop treatment.

    I'm not a die hard "must donate blood" type of person. It's more the thought that they'd never want the blood because something was wrong with it that worried me.

    Last edited by moderator2; 05-31-2007 at 09:09 AM. Reason: posted commercial website

     
    Old 05-31-2007, 08:55 AM   #7
    unruhe
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    Re: What are the real side effects of accutane?

    Thankfully, I have low cholesterol and low blood pressure. So if it was elevated, it would probably still be within a healthy range.

    To anyone: I've read you cannot drink while on Accutane. Are we talking a few drinks here and there or binge drinking, falling down drunk that they advise against?

    And, I read a few accutane journals this morning. A lot of water intake seems to alleviate the dryness of eyes and skin. (totally makes sense). I drink a lot of water to start with also.

     
    Old 05-31-2007, 08:58 AM   #8
    unruhe
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    Re: What are the real side effects of accutane?

    Sorry, people, I have about 10 million questions

    I was planning on having some chemical peels to my shoulders and chest area due to discoloration, and poor texture. Derm said to wait, because skin can become fragile during accutane and that it can improve skin texture.

    Any one notice improved texture? I have superficial scarring and large pores. When I was on doxy, the texture was fabulous. I wonder if it will be like that. And will it be permanent once i'm off the accutane?

     
    Old 05-31-2007, 09:39 AM   #9
    Enj
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    Re: What are the real side effects of accutane?

    The derm said to me that I will be left with scarring (when i was just about to go on accutane). Thankfully, most of it has cleared up and completely gone.

    As to your skin's texture. If it does improve, I believe it will be just temporarily. That's what happened with me anyway.

     
    Old 05-31-2007, 09:42 AM   #10
    unruhe
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    Re: What are the real side effects of accutane?

    Do you mean scarring as in the hyperpigmentation (red spots) - which fade, or scarring as in indents and ice pick scars?

    Last edited by unruhe; 05-31-2007 at 09:42 AM.

     
    Old 05-31-2007, 09:49 AM   #11
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    Re: What are the real side effects of accutane?

    Quote:
    Originally Posted by unruhe View Post
    To anyone: I've read you cannot drink while on Accutane. Are we talking a few drinks here and there or binge drinking, falling down drunk that they advise against?
    Accutane can cause liver damage which is part of the reason regular check ups are needed. Since alcohol is metabolized by the liver it would probably be best not to drink at all while taking it. I'm not positive but that's my take on it, it would just add unnecessary stress to your organs.

    Last edited by guitarplayer; 05-31-2007 at 09:52 AM.

     
    Old 05-31-2007, 10:12 AM   #12
    unruhe
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    Re: What are the real side effects of accutane?

    Could the severity of side effects be adverse to the severity of the acne??

    In other words, if you have typical teenage acne, will the side effects be worse? (meaning, you don't really need the accutane).

    I will have to get in touch with my niece. I was VERY surprised to discover she was on accutane because frankly, I had never noticed she had acne. If she did, it was very mild and typical for her teenage years. She doesn't even wear makeup, so it's not an issue of covering it up so no one would notice.

    I wonder if it's instances like that that cause bad side effects.

     
    Old 05-31-2007, 10:22 AM   #13
    unruhe
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    Re: What are the real side effects of accutane?

    I would just like to add that I first had acne in 3rd grade. Eight freaking years old. That seems insane to me. My mother was a big fan of holistic thinking and health foods. So this CANNOT be blamed on diet, since I ate extremely healthy meals. She gave me vitamins, made me homemade yogurt, didn't allow sweets or candy. It was all natural foods. I find it really irritating when the holistic "experts" out there blame acne on food. (No doubt, there are some cases where acne is a reaction to a food allergy. But I don't think that's my case.)

    I also started developing breast buds in 3rd grade. Perhaps I just matured faster or have more hormones or something.

    I can definitely say it's genetic too. So I disagree with doctors who say it's not. If you look at my mother and the women on her side of the family, most of them have deep acne scarring.

    I'm starting to think that accutane is the way to go, so long as you drink plenty of water, use lip balm, use eyedrops and mositurizer and take vitamins supplements.

     
    Old 06-01-2007, 03:47 PM   #14
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    Re: What are the real side effects of accutane?

    I'm not sure I can remember all your questions, but I'll try to answer some. First, you can't take vitamin supplements while on accutane. Accutane is a dirrivitive of vitamin A, so it will overdose you. My derm told me I could only take a calcium supp. As for dryness, drinking water won't help. Accutane sucks all the liquid out of you(at least it feels like it) I couldn't eat chips or anything salty. I loved accutane and it cleared me right up, but I suffered. You also can't drink, because accutane can have effects on your liver. You need to get monthly blood tests to monitor liver function and blood sugars and they'll do a pregnancy test every month. You need to register with ipledge and fill out a questionare every month before you get your script. People with minimal acne shouldn't take accutane it's only for severe cystic acne. You can't do much to prevent the side effects, like depression and achy joints. My joints were very sore especially in the morning. Some days i could barely make it down the stairs. It went away after I was off about 2 months. But it was a long 6 months while I was on it.
    good luck and really do your research before you decide.

     
    Old 06-01-2007, 08:32 PM   #15
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    Re: What are the real side effects of accutane?

    i've been on accutane for just about 4 months now, and ive had a headache for 3 days straight now. i'm assuming its because of the heat, all the light i see throughout the day, radiation from the computer, and the medicine mixed together. what should i do?

     
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