Accutane, also known by Isotretinoin, Amnesteem, Claravis, and Sotret is a prescription oral medicine used for “extreme cases” of acne, and I’m going to tell you everything I know about it! Technically I used Claravis, but supposedly it’s all the same thing (different brands).
Anywho, my Gyno Doc is actually the one who recommended it. OMG not that I have acne in some odd place she’s just seen me for years and has seen me have acne for years. (I’ve actually had it for about 10 years.) She said that she used to be able to give patients prescriptions for it, but seeing all the side affects with Accutane, they’ve gotten more strict on who can get it and how you can get it.
Also, on a side note, I’ve only had face acne. Some people take Accutane for like back acne or something, but I’ve never had acne anywhere else but my face, so this review is soley on my face. haha.
Back to the side affects on the drug. The main side affect of Accutane is having a cone-head baby. Its sounds funny, but seriously. On the drug facts they refer to it as “life-threatening birth defects” but the photos (shown below) they use on the box of Accutane say cone-head baby. Because of this, if you’re a girl, you have to get your blood drawn one month before you go on Accutane, every month during, and one month after. All to make sure your not creating a cone-head baby under their watch. Basically if you get pregnant while on Accutane, or a month after taking Accutane, you have to get it aborted, they even make you sign a paper agreeing to it.
To double make sure no one is bringing a cone-head baby into the world, each month before you can pick up your medicine, you have to take a “test” showing that you know how and why you should’t get pregnant on Accutane, the program is called iPLEDGE and I’d always answer the like 10 questions on my phone, but you can also do it online. The phone call went something along the lines of…
Please enter your iPLEDGE number.
What are your two forms of birth control?
Is it true that you shouldn’t get pregnant on Accutane?
Is the “pull-out method” okay? haha. That’s really a question on there.
If your partner doesn’t have a condom, what should you do?
You get the drift.
In the blood work, they also check your cholesterol, so I’m pretty sure guys go through the monthly blood draw too, but don’t quote me on it. haha. My cholesterol did go up on this medicine, but I have higher cholesterol to begin with (thanks Dad).
There are TONS of possibly side-affects from Accutane, but I’m only going to talk about the ones I experienced.
Your emotions being on another level, yeah I don’t know how I have friends at this point, that goodness I was single, I’d feel bad for that guy. haha. I’m usually a very bubbly happy person. But OMG was I sad at times. Never suicidal, nothing like that, just sad (crying) about nothing. I’ve also NEVER been an angry person and I would be super angry about nothing. I wouldn’t lash out or anything, just be mad. About nothing. The amount of dirty looks I’ve given people for breathing too loud is rediculous. That’s the biggest thing I can’t wait from ending. I like being happy! And this was an everyday thing, I’m really not sure how teens take this medicine, I don’t think I could of (as a teen). Then again I took mine during my last semester of college, in the after college job hunt, while applying (and being accepted into Grad School) and at the beginning of my amazing first job! 🙂
Your vision can get blurry. And mine did, I never went to get new glasses (I have a very low prescription but never wear them). But I did notice my eyes got blurry, especially at night or if I was looking at a computer screen too long. They are still blurry (two weeks after completing the medicine, hoping this ends soon).
Dry skin, dry everything. haha. My lips peeled within the first month, my skin all over developed eczema by month three, and my face was completely peeling off by month 4/5. By month five I’d do my make-up and an hour later, or less, it’d start peeling and I looked like some type of molting freak. My eyes were super dry too, and sensitive. They’d get super red sometimes, people would think I was high (I don’t smoke). I went to a hookah place and my eyes got so irritated by the smoke that I was basically “crying” the entire time, and that’s never been a problem for me.
There were some products that helped with all this dryness. I used saline eye drops, which burned but helped afterwards. LOTS of chapstick, I used several brands, all of which I’d have to put on every hour…or more. But my lips still peeled (not cute). Aveeno Radiant on my face until the peeling got really bad. I started using Aveeno Eczema Therapy because of the eczema, which worked AMAZING. I could put it on once and it would make my skin completely smooth again. Towards the end I would put this on my face at night, yeah it’s super heavy, and my face would still peel. Oh, and lotion on your face on Accutane BURNS. I read somewhere that this could be due to having sunblock in your lotion but I love Aveeno and everything I had has sunblock in it so I kept using it anyways. (You don’t want to go sunblock-less on Accutane anyways)
TMI time…I “got” kind of a lot of in-grown hair on Accutane. But I brought it up to my Dermatologist and she said that she actually prescribes Accutane to people to fix their in-grown hairs. So my guess is that I had them all along and Accutane just pushed them out? I only had them for about 6 weeks so I’m guessing that’s what was going on.
The only other “odd” thing that happened is I got this line under my eye. It’s like just a little purple line. My Dermatologist thinks I might of scratched myself and it’s like a bruise. But it’s been there for about 3 months and is just kind of odd, people think I messed up my eye make-up haha.
So there are other things you can’t do on Accutane besides get pregnant.
You can’t tan or even really be in the sun on Accutane. This was a total bummer for me because I love tanning, it makes me way cuter and I do believe that Vitamin D makes you happier haha. But really don’t try it. I cleaned my car out towards the end of Accutane, which took about 20 minutes, with my face lotion on which has sunblock in it, and half my face got super burnt. Not just red, but bright red, bumpy and puffy. Super painful and super ugly. Avoid the sun at all costs on Accutane.
Okay, you’re not supposed to drink on Accutane. I did it anyways. But I wouldn’t recommend it. The alcohol killed my stomach and already being emotional plus alcohol, not a good time.
There are a lot of medicines that you can’t take with Accutane. Every time you’re about to take a medicine Google Accutane with it first! haha. I took an over-the-counter allergy pill, didn’t even think about it. Every time I took it I had crazy rage! Again, about nothing. Then I google the two together. Now online it doesn’t say you will get crazy rage, it just says not to take the two together. My opinion on why…crazy rage. haha.
Finally the results!!! I had to give you all the bad on Accutane before I could tell you how AMAZING it is for your skin. I haven’t had ONE pimple in over a month. I’ve had 20+ everyday for the past 10 years! It’s an amazing feeling to not have acne anymore! I LOVE IT! I’ve tried countless other “acne solutions” all of which would not work or would work but as soon as I’d stop, my acne would start again. That’s what I love about Accutane, once you stop, your acne doesn’t just start back up again. For some people, it does, but I’m really hoping it doesn’t. haha. I’ve been off of it for about 2 weeks now and still no acne! (knock on wood). Oh and it doesn’t just get rid of your acne, it makes your complexion look better, you’ll look really good is what I’m saying. haha.
Now you can’t go 10 years with acne and be scar-free. I mean unless, you’re really lucky. The Accutane did get rid of a lot of the scars, I mean your face is falling off so why wouldn’t it? I also started using Smashbox CC cream to help with it! And once I start tanning again..shhh don’t tell my Dermatologist…I’m hoping that’ll hide any scars that are left!
Well, there it is, 6 months on Accutane, a lot of melt-downs, and perfect skin.