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Accutane for Severe Acne

Should You Go On Accutane?


If you've tried everything from benzoyl peroxide to retinoids and your acne won't budge, you might have what is called severe recalcitrant nodular acne. This means it might be time to consider a prescription like Accutane. While not for everyone, Accutane could be the solution to your acne woes.

Accutane is a highly concentrated form of vitamin A. It reduces the amount of oil and sebum produced by the glands in your skin. It also helps the surface of your skin renew itself continuously, preventing the buildup of pore-clogging dead skin and sebum. Treatment usually lasts four to six months, or until acne is completely cleared. Most patients will need an additional round of four to six months within the first year or so, and acne will typically get worse before it gets better. And naturally, you'll need to talk with a dermatologist to decide if going on Accutane would be a good decision. For some pros and cons, read more.

Pros of Accutane

  • According to the FDA, one round of Accutane treatment can result in a prolonged remission of acne in approximately 85% of patients.
  • Even if you require a second round of treatment, you're likely to squash acne for good.
  • It's in a simple, easy-to-take pill form.

Cons of Accutane

  • Elevated levels of Vitamin A in your bloodstream can cause severe birth defects, so you can't use it if you'd like to get pregnant soon.
  • You have to sign documents committing to using at least two forms of birth control, including one hormonal form, during the entire course of treatment. For those of you unable or unwilling to take the Pill, this might eliminate Accutane as an option.
  • You have to get monthly blood tests to ensure you are not pregnant before your doctor can refill your prescription. So if you are going to be away from a doctor for more than a month, you can't stock up on Accutane before you go.
  • Other possible side effects include severe dryness of the lips, eyes, mouth and nose, and increased sensitivity to the sun.

The bottom line is, if you are frustrated with your acne and you've exhausted other options, it could be time to try Accutane. Just keep in mind that it is not a decision to be taken lightly, and only your dermatologist can decide if it is right for you and your skin.

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