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Low dose roaccutane

(20 Posts)
liberatedbetty Tue 09-Oct-12 17:11:10

Hi. I'm currently under a dermatologist (oo, matron) for acne. I've been using a retinol gel for a couple of months which has been so so. I'm due back next month. Last time I went he offered roaccutane but I told him I was pretty terrified of trying it. I'm now wondering, though, whether a low dose would help without having as many or as severe side effects. Does anyone have any experiences of this? Thanks for your help!

SpannerPants Tue 09-Oct-12 18:24:45

I was on low dose roaccutane for 8 months for rosacea. Apart from the dry skin the only other side effect was it increased my cholesterol levels, but they went back down once I'd stopped treatment.

lurkingaround Tue 09-Oct-12 18:40:02

I took 20mg for about 8 months I think (ordinary acne). Skin went a bit dry, hair a bit dry, it was fantastic. No great change to cholesterol levels. Makeup stayed put, I could get a blow-dry and it would last. I did have dry lips but to me that was a minor inconvenience, and Elizabeth Arden smelly 8 hour cream managed that one very nicely. And best of all, I'm still reaping the benefits, ne'er a spot since I took it. Happy days.

liberatedbetty Wed 10-Oct-12 20:05:52

Thanks for that, ladies.
When did you start to see an improvement and did you suffer from the dreaded initial breakout on the low dose?
Thanks again.

OhThisIsJustGrape Wed 10-Oct-12 21:07:48

lurkingaround did it reduce the oiliness of your skin and hair? My acne is mostly under control now, bar the odd hormonal spot, but I spend a small fortune on products to achieve it. However, I am just a walking grease ball and fight a constant battle to keep my face and hair oil free sad

Not sure I'd get it prescribed if my acne is no way near bad enough but if it cured the oil slick I'd be prepared to beg for it smile

Sorry to hijack your post liberated blush

doghouse Wed 10-Oct-12 21:27:22

I had horrid cystic acne after finishing breastfeeding DD. Tried lots of things through GP but eventually got referred to brilliant dermatologist who put me on low dose (20mg) Roaccutane. It gets such a bad press but if handled correctly, can be brilliant. I had no side effects I can remember, was clear within about 6m, scarring took a little longer to disappear completely but thanks to Roaccutane, I can honestly say I got my life back. Three years later and am still clear! Good luck x

AKissIsNotAContract Wed 10-Oct-12 21:29:41

It was the only thing that worked for my acne. I only took it for about 3 months but now nearly 5 years later I still have perfect skin.

BabylonPI Wed 10-Oct-12 21:35:46

I had 4 courses of roaccutane as a teenager - started at 13. My acne was awful, and the roaccutane actually didn't do an awful lot sad

It made me look like I had really bad sunburn, my face was dry and peely but I still got massive acne spots on my face, neck, shoulders and back sad

The side effects weren't nice either, I ended up with joint pain, headaches, constant nausea, weight gain from taking the pill with it (they wouldn't prescribe it without the pill even at 13yo - my mum made me take it) and the horrible dry mouth and itchiness.

I'd like to say it was all worth it, but after four courses of treatment under a dermatologist, it was no better. At 16, that sane dermatologist told me it would probably clear up after I'd had a baby shock

On the way home from my last appointment with the dermatologist, mum took me to a Chinese herbalist who gave me some little sachets of charcoal ball type things confused

Within 2 months of taking them, there was a massive improvement. Sure, it could be coincidence, but I stuck with them and within 8 months was clear of acne and had beautiful skinsmile

it's now old and haggard, but for a brief period, it was lovely blush

This may or may not be helpful to you, but I am only being honest.

OhThisIsJustGrape Wed 10-Oct-12 21:46:35

Does it improve scarring? I have some pits from acne, can it do anything to help diminish them?

liberatedbetty Wed 10-Oct-12 21:50:23

This is all so helpful. Thank you.
One more (possibly!) question.
Sounds terrible but did you have to give up booze whilst on it? I'm not a heavy drinker but I do enjoy a tipple...

AKissIsNotAContract Wed 10-Oct-12 22:10:40

Oh: I had laser resurfacing for my scarring.

I didn't give up alcohol on roacutane.

BabylonPI Wed 10-Oct-12 22:11:21

<nods very seriously>
yes at 13 I did have to give up my Friday night White Lightening binge blush

<totally unhelpful> grin

lucylawless11 Wed 10-Oct-12 22:46:30

My son whose now 19 had suffered terrible acne from about the age of 13, it knocked his confidence totally, he tried all the usual lotions and potions and pills from the doctors before being offered roaccutane by the hospital. After a lot of research he decided to try it, he was on it for 3 months in total and every spot went but it did leave his face reddy pock marked, these faded over time and after about a year he had perfect skin. Would i recommend this treatment YES YES YES.

lucylawless11 Wed 10-Oct-12 22:48:07

Oh and yes he had very dry skin, couldnt go to turkey that year so family holiday cancelled as strong sun would have demolished him and he also had dry eyes which he had drops for, apart from these couple of things totally fine.

wouldratherbeonthebeach Wed 10-Oct-12 22:53:45

I took it at 17 for 6 months and had the usual short term side effects and some really bad long term ones. I had terrible recurring thrush and mild depression for a few years after. After many trips to the GP I was told it was as a result if the roacutane. It did clear my skin tho but the side effects were really bad for me. Good luck wink

lurkingaround Thu 11-Oct-12 10:55:25

Roaccutane was amazing for the oilyness. It did return on stopping the medication, marginally not as bad. I think I started on 10mgs every other day initially, and the drying up effect was pretty immediate. Wonderful. Yes, I did get the horrid initial breakout, but my dermatologist hopped on it with steroids for just a few days. Tbh the result is so fantastic it was all worth it. I would love to take it once or twice a week to control oil, but that's not recommended I think.

I'm not a heavy drinker, a couple of glasses at the weekend is the height of it. I still had them.

I don't think it improved my scarring, but it did shrink my pores. Amazingly so. Fantastic.

Can you tell I was really happy with it? grin It has also saved me a fortune on products, now I can use what I like (within reason).

My dermatologist put it very succinctly to me as I was reluctant to take Roaccutane. She said that even if I only get one spot a month, that leaves a tiny scar, that's 12 a year, how many more years and scars was I going to put up with. She also said that that she has put women in their 60s on it, sometimes acne just doesn't go away.

Apologies the essay!

madamecake Thu 11-Oct-12 14:41:31

Hi, I was on a higher dose of roaccutane, 60 mg a day, and it was honestly one of the best things I ever did. I had oil slick skin with constant acne and cysts since my teens, and was using every product under the sun to try to control it, with only limited success.

The side affects weren't great, (painfully dry skin, aching joints, no alcohol!) but I'm sure they won't be as bad on a low dose.
4 years later I'm pleased to say I have "normal" skin with only occasional spots. I still have some scarring, but only a couple of marks, the rest faded over time.

Good luck if you decide to try it.

liberatedbetty Sat 13-Oct-12 11:37:58

Thanks again everyone. I think I'm going to go for it. Hopefully I'll be able to go on a low does and avoid some of the more horrible side effects.
I'll update you on my progress!


BabylonPI Sun 14-Oct-12 00:31:47

Good luck liberatedbetty

Really hope it works for you and you escape the side effects smile

ScarePhyllis Mon 15-Oct-12 07:06:48

Good luck. My experience on it: skin went very dry, as per everyone else. I was told to cover my face in vaseline at night to try to keep moisture in and protect it. Ultimately it didn't really do very much for me, apart from making my skin slightly less oily in the long term, but it is a wonder drug for many people so worth trying. I have eventually got rid of most of my acne and scarring by seeing a cosmetic dermatologist and having laser treatment and switching to the latest generation pill. Didn't have any psychological side effects.

You can't wear contact lenses (because your eyes go dry), get pregnant (you have a pregnancy test beforehand and have to agree to take the pill while you are on it) or drink alcohol while taking it (went dry for six months while at university - interesting experience). And you have to make sure you keep some cheese or milk around to take the pills with, because it absorbs best with fat. I think you have to have occasional blood tests too to check that your liver hasn't fallen out.

My dosage was calculated by my own body weight, so I'm not sure if you can have a "low" dosage, but worth investigating. Remembering how utterly miserable my acne made me it is definitely worth trying everything out there. Could you ask the dermatologist about things like lasers and light therapy as well?

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