My Experience With Accutane: Is It Worth It?

Hello everyone! How nice to be back and write to you all. I`ve been on accutane or isotretinoin (if you want to get really scientific and nerdy here) for two terms. The first one was a year ago and lasted six months, the other term started summer this year and will be over after six months this December. Yeah. My acne is THAT bad. Or it was, at least. In this MyTake I would like to share with you my experience with accutane and discuss if this powerful drug is really worth it, plus add some tips if you are considering taking this drug.

What is your familiarity with accutane? Have you been on it? Did you know anyone who was? What have you heard about accutane? Let me know in the comments!

What is accutane?

I`m sure most of you already know what accutane is and its purpose. Accutane is a very powerful drug and provides the body with powerful doses of Vitamin A. It is said to be the only "truly effective" medication and treatment for acne. People take different doses of this drug over different periods of time, depending on your weight and age. I`m 62 kg, which means 40-80 grams (two pills) per day for six months. Doses higher than this for me could have dangerous long-term consequences.

Accutane can come in various doses, depending on body weight and age.
Accutane can come in various doses, depending on body weight and age.

My experiences: side effects

Accutane works like a dream for most people, and it worked like a dream for me! However, it comes with a pretty high price. Accutane comes with a lot of side effects; all from small things like rashes and dry lips, to more dangerous ones like suicide, anxiety, and heart and liver diseases. I will be listing my side effects from moderate to extreme.

Side effect 1: dry lips and rashes

This is one side effect that is GUARANTEED anyone who is on accutane. Accutane dries out your skin and prevents excess oil production. This drug is going to change your life if you have oily skin. I went from super-shiny skin all day every day to matte/dry skin after about a month. Your lips will be dry as well, so make sure you have lip balm handy and accessible wherever you are. In fact, my dry skin can be so bad that I bleed a few times a month.

My Experience With Accutane: Is It Worth It?

Side effect 2: muscle and joint pain/discomfort

I`ve noticed I am not as active as I was before accutane. I get tired really quickly and it takes nothing before my muscles and joints start hurting after gym class. Sometimes it will just happen randomly. It is mostly my legs, shoulders, and arms that are most affected.

My Experience With Accutane: Is It Worth It?

Side effect 3: increased cholesterol levels

High cholesterol is in my family, so that is part of the reason, but accutane does make your cholesterol higher than normal, usually about 5-10%. This is not immediately dangerous, but it can be a problem when you get older (high cholesterol can lead to heart attacks, but it`s not a big problem if you are below 50 yrs).

My Experience With Accutane: Is It Worth It?

Side effect 4: tiredness and fatigue

Tiredness and fatigue braids in with side effect #2, and is the reason I am not as active or motivated as I once was. It doesn`t take much before I get really tired.

My Experience With Accutane: Is It Worth It?

Side effect 5: anxiety

I had anxiety before I started accutane, but it only occurred in a few social situations (I have social anxiety). Now, I feel it when I wake up, relax, do homework or even just communicate with someone. Irregular anxiety can be incredibly frustrating and distracting.

My Experience With Accutane: Is It Worth It?

Side effect 6: panic attacks and paranoia

This braids in with #5. Excessive anxiety has lead to panic attacks in the middle of the night along with night sweats, and it also happens in broad daylight. Regularly, I feel the fear of dying because I feel the blood pumping in my veins, my heart hurting and my chest tightening. It feels like an actual heart attack. It can be the worst feeling.

My Experience With Accutane: Is It Worth It?

So... accutane. Is it really worth it?

Not only is accutane a pain in the ass when it comes to side effects, but it can also be incredibly annoying when it comes to the process. If you are a woman you have to take blood- and pregnancy tests every month, or you will be denied access to the medication. This is to protect any potential fetus during a pregnancy if this should happen while on accutane. It is highly dangerous and can damage the baby`s brain- and body functions if you were to get pregnant. So if you want to clear your skin, you will have to give up your sex life (it is not a must, but it is recommended considering the risks and the pill not being 100% secure by itself) for a minimum six months. But, I must say, despite accutane being overwhelmingly expensive and otherwise exhausting, it has been worth it and it does the job. My skin is clear everywhere, as you can see in my profile picture. My back, face, and chest are crystal clear! So in conclusion, it is up to you to decide what makes it worth it and not. I personally mean it is smarter to just wait it out (I know it sucks, I`ve had acne since I was twelve) because this much damage over clear skin is ridiculous and too expensive.

Still considering accutane? Read this!

Now I shall provide you with a few helpful tips if you still think accutane is the medication for you.

1. Do your research before making a decision. Read other people`s experiences, ask doctors (or your personal doctor) and be aware of your family`s health history. Accutane can be a cause for depression, liver- and heart damage, especially if these things already run in your family. I would not recommend taking the risk if your body has a high chance of being affected by this kind of damage.

2. Know your body and your limits and DO NOT ignore them! Know when you feel like something is wrong, and know when to tell your doctor. There is no shame in turning back. It is your money and your life.

3. Do not drink alcohol while on accutane. I have made this mistake many times. It may not kill you, but both accutane and alcohol have an immense influence on the liver, and these combined can really cause some potential long-term damage.

4. Do not overdose, even if the medication doesn`t seem to be working. Accutane is a process, and it can take about three weeks before you see noticeable changes. For me, it took even longer. I got too impatient and decided to increase my dose with an extra pill. It definitely made my anxiety worse, but I also felt sick all the time and lost my appetite.

Anyways, good luck to you who decide to take accutane, and thank you for reading regardless if you are on the medication or not!


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Most Helpful Guys

  • You don't need medication for acne! I have THE ONE trick to get rid of it once and for all. I use to have TERRIBLE acne. Not anymore. Bye Bye acne. To get rid of it, it is simple but this will be tough for a lot of people. DON'T EAT ANYTHING THAT HAS BEEN CHANGED IN ANY WAY FROM IT'S NATURAL STATE! Use honey to sweeten things and sea salt to flavor it. Bake your own bread. Make your own soy milk. It's not hard. You just have to practice. Nothing with an ingredients list. Hope someone reads this and it changes their life for the better. I do this and I don't get a single pimple anymore.

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  • I used accutane 7 years ago I needed it because my first dermatologist was an idiot and kept prescribing me antibiotics that weren't working and just made my acne come back worse. The side effects sucked and it got worse before it got better, but it was well worth it in the end. I still get the odd pimple here but not anywhere close to how it was before.

    I had to take blood tests every month too, they need to do it to monitor your blood cholestrol levels. I'm not a huge fan of needles so it was kind of annoying.

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Most Helpful Girls

  • Well, it is a lot different from my experience. I didn't need to take any medical blood tests monthly, only in the beginning to see my cholesterol, but i am a begetarian so mine is really low anyaway, so that wasn't a problem. I wasn't sexually active then so pregnancy tests would have been pointless. Same with the pill.
    I had dry lips anyway so there wasn't much difference. No differnce in how depressive i was or how less active i was.
    The only noticeable thing was that my skin was really dry, but i managed to keep it fine with regular exfoliation and moisturizing.

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  • From what I know of Accutane, it is used for people with sever acne, and even then I don't think it's worth it. Yet it is used under strict Doctor supervision, as you listed it has very dangerous side affects. Which I know, no Doctor would just hand you a boxes full and then say to you, see when you've run out of pills. The time frame is usually 15-20 weeks also, if you have any dangerous side affect a Doctor would tell you to stop taking them immediately, and then come in and see them. You should have been give it if your Doctor was so lazy that he didn't follow the patient guidelines.

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What Guys Said 14

  • I'm glad it worked so well for you. I was able to avoid accutane, and although I'm glad I didn't have to go through any of the side effects, my acne took much longer to improve that way (I'm still not completely clear after three years) and I'm left with pretty huge acne scars that I now spend a plenty of money and time on in order to get them flattened out and cleared up. I've done dermal subcision and I'm getting laser resurfacing in January, so maybe that will help.
    If you're suffering from acne, I recommend watching your diet closely. Cutting out all dairy and reducing sugar to a minimum helped me a lot, as well as overdosing on vegetables and not going overboard with alcohol consumption (drink a plenty of water instead). The YouTuber Brian Turner has some good advice on this (he had an extremely severe case of acne and he's now completely clear).
    I supplement with fish oil, vitamins B and E, zinc, selenium and probiotics; all these helped me a great deal. I apply moisturiser with nicotinamide (niacinamide) everyday in the morning and a 12% glycolic acid cream every night before bed, but somehow I still break out occationally. I'd appreciate any advice you might have.

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  • Before your Doc puts you on Accutane.. ask him to put you on Keflex. Try that before you go this route. It's a simple antibiotic with sulfur that clears up the worst cases of acne. Trust me.. thank god my doc tried it before using this accutane Frankenstein drug.

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  • Took Accutane for several months. Cleared my face completely and made it glow but unfortunately it really messed me up psychologically.

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  • ''But, I must say, despite accutane being overwhelmingly expensive and otherwise exhausting, it has been worth it and it does the job.''

    If you're willing to go through all of this nonsense to get no acne, I think there's something seriously wrong with you.

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    • You clearly don’t suffer from severe acne. You don’t understand the mental and emotional damage that goes along with being made fun of everyday.

    • Show All
    • You haven't a single clue what confidence does for a person do you?🙄 Acne makes you look and feel dirty and people ALWAYS judge you for it. If the reward is confidence its easy to take a few months of misery.

    • @Factshurt90
      C'mon, this is the only argument I've heard so far against my reply, and it's bullcrap too because I said I've suffered from severe acne myself and still have acne scars. I know what it's like, but I've decided to just live with it and improve myself on other aspects, like physicality, or personal traits. This crap people take is seriously dangerous and, like I said before, I could imagine it causing permanent body damage.

  • I took it. Had some of the same side effects as well-- still happy in the long term. Very good Take here, seriously.

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  • It needs more research because hoe an individual absorbs the medicine is unpredictable factoring in how that every person in general respond to a healthy dosage of meds.

    The absorption rate of every individual is different relative to lot of hypothesis conducted and evidence collected and based on that data is measured is uniquely different but there is a pattern which can be measured as well and hence we can conclude the safe dosage of a medicine.

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  • DO NOT get pregnant while on Accutane: www.webmd.com/.../accutanes-pregnancy-risk-women-aware

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  • I'm not taking anything for my skin, but I am currently on several medications for other purposes. Their side effects are horrible, and it is seriously messing up my life. I wouldn't ever take that. It would just make my life worse.

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  • Not worth it. Also high linkage between Ed and accutane

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  • Damn! It has thousand side-effects. I won’t recommend it now tbh

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  • I wonder if it is just a matter of dosing. How would the side effects be at half that dose. How effective would it be at half that des

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  • After reading your take, my first thoughts are, fuck that, I'll take the acne and deal with it.

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  • I know you have been told numerous times but only way my severe acne got away was by doing a few simple things.
    -washing face with a friendly soap when you feel its moist
    -never ever ever ever touching face
    -avoid junk food, cocoa, egg yolks and too much sause
    -Exercise outside on a daily basis, like jogging
    -shower twice a day

    Boom. Bye bye acne and i still get to enjoy food. When i see one or two little devils i just watch it for a day or two and again bye bye. Im certain ill die with it but meh.

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  • Not worth it, health above all

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What Girls Said 11

  • I took this medicine and i had to take it again and i am actually on my last month now yes the dry skin is real! My doctor said my cholesterol levels were low😂 and tbh I never really had many side effects. Just the dry skin. But i think its worth is if ur acne was severe like mines. I had it on my back, chest, and face. It was BAD! But i look so much better now!☺

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  • That is a lot of negative side effects to endure merely to address severe acne. I would do some indepth research to find other natural and homeopathic cures. I'm sure diet is one major factor in helping to alleviate it.

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    • None of the homeopathic cures helped me. Only the Accutane worked despite really bad side effects.

    • A whole foods diet is all anyone needs to get rid of acne forever. I know for a fact that processed food is the cause of acne.

  • Thanks for the heads up and I'm glad it worked for you!! I'm still considering it. The only thing that gets my skin clear is birth control and i can't take ANYTHING with hormones in it🙄

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  • When i was 4 my mom took accutane and it gave her rashes and tiredness. She couldnt go on with using it for long

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  • I tried to take it. Twice. At the first time I had to stop taking it, because isotetrinoin lowered my immune system so bad that I got seriously sick, and needed to go to the hospital. The second time I took it, it caused me so much pain in the spine that I barely could walk, so I stopped taking it also after about a month or two.

    So I still have acne. I look disgusting and I'm disgusted by my own skin. And it's been so long that I honestly lost hope that it will ever be gone. I guess I will have to cover all the mirrors in the house to the end of my days.

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  • I've been thinking about getting Accutane but it's too expensive for now

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  • If you do take it and you’re worried about dry skin but some pumpkin seed serum I have super dry skin all the time and it works super well!!!

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  • Use African black soap from shea moisture. Then use witch hazel. Then a simple moisturizer. Then you’ll be good to do.

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  • Sheesh.

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  • Good take

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  • I made an acne treatment with accutane five years ago. My dermatologist tried several other options before going for it. I didn't experience any other side effect other than dry lips, which is rare, I think. My skin got a lot better but I still have some pimples that may not even be acne.
    Overall, I think it was worth taking the risk of being on such dangerous medication to get a much clearer skin.

    It's kind of annoying to read some comments claiming that people should go for natural treatments instead of trusting their doctors.

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