Curing Acne with Accutane
Accutane is the most powerful pill skin doctors have to “cure” acne. It is used for severe cases when there are large pimples and cysts that do not get better with other medications such as creams or oral antibiotics. In addition, it is used to prevent life long acne scarring. Sometimes I say, “you only have one chance to be young with clear skin”, so in my practice we use a lot of this medication.
Accutane is a form of Isotretinoin and has many other generic names including Absorica™, Claravis™, Amnesteem™, Sotret™, Myorisan™, and Zenatane™. Don’t let all these names confuse you, they are all the same medicine.
Meanwhile, Isotretinoin is a form of Vitamin A. Although it has side effects, I have been using it for over 20 years in thousands of patients, and have found it safe and effective. In fact, over 90 percent of people are cured after taking it!
The Normal dose is based on your weight, and the normal course is 5 months. In most cases, patients get better after a month. However, if they don’t we can always raise the dose slightly. I always start my patients on a “middle dose” that way we can go up or down depending on how the patient is doing.
Accutane Side Effects
Generally speaking there are 3 groups of side effects, the “normal” side effects, “middle” reversible side effects and “bad” side effects.
First, of all the “bad” Accutane side effects, are seen in pregnancy. Accutane can cause birth defects, so pregnancy must be avoided while on Accutane and for a couple of months after stopping. The Federal Government started the iPLEDGE program to help prevent pregnancies during Accutane treatment. I tell my male patients that Accutane has no effect on the “male system”.
The “middle” side effects include joint pain, headaches and in some rare cases depression. I have found that if these side effects occur, stopping the medication and restarting a lower does usually cures the problem.
The “normal” side effects are dry skin, dry eyes and dry lips, sometimes called Accutane lips or severe chapped lips. Some people also are more sensitive to the sun while on Accutane.
Accutane Lips, Dry Skin, Dry Eyes, and Sun Sensitivity
First, I recommend eye drops for dry eyes. On top of that, I suggest that patients don’t wear contact lenses during treatment. Next, for the dry skin I recommend a mild soap, no exfoliants, and DR. DANS Lotion. Unlike other creams and ointments for Dry Skin, Dr. Dan’s was the first hydrocortisone lotion made especially for smooth and easy application, for patients suffering from dry skin. For the dry Accutane lips, we of course recommend DR DANS CORTIBALM™. Lastly, we of course recommend our line of sunscreens for sun sensitivity. Unlike most sunscreens, Dr. Dan’s Sunstick and Sun Block for your lips contain no Harsh and irritating chemicals, like PABA or Oxybenzone. and just for the record, Dr. Dan’s Sunscreen were Reef Safe before there was such a thing as Reef Safe!