I decided to take Accutane after trying what I thought at the time to be everything else that I could have possibly taken to cure my acne, but nothing worked. I went through the usual dermatology route and met Dr. Mark Rubenzik, who was an incredibly nice man and he took me through the regular prescriptions of antibiotics and ointment creams but nothing helped. I had cystic acne with blackheads on every inch of my face and a medium amount of whiteheads spread throughout.
My initial visit with Dr. Rubenzik was simple. I just checked in at the front desk and paid my co-pay. Then I waited in a waiting room before going back and meeting a nurse who took my vitals. Then the doctor came into the private room I was in and I nervously talked with him about my acne. He took a closer look at my face, even though it was pretty obvious that I had a bad acne problem. He told me he thought it was be a good plan to start with lesser treatments before trying a medication as aggressive as Accutane.
After we tried the antibiotics and creams, I finally started Accutane and a rigorous registration process for the iPledge program. We started with low doses, which proved not to have any effect, and gradually increased it over the course of the first 4 months. Eventually, I was taking 180-220 mgs of Accutane per day. I had side effects of dry and cracked skin, dry eyes, extremely dry skin needing chapstick every 10 minutes or so, joint stiffness and pain, spinal stiffness, slight loss of strength and dehydration, but none of the more severe side effects of suicidal thoughts or depression. My entire course was a 78-week treatment that gradually tapered down and at the end I was 90-95% clear by the end of it.
My acne returned after about 3-4 months off in light severity but with many cysts. I eventually turned to a plant based diet and after increasing my vegetable intake and removing dairy from my diet, I have had a clear face since. I was even featured on the CBS show, “The Doctors” this year talking about how my acne has cleared. It’s been an amazing journey.
Accutane was tough to be on because you always had to think of something because you were on it. For example, forgetting chapstick would ruin my day and literally have my lips bleeding after an hour or so. I felt like dehydration came quicker but more importantly, when I was dehydrated, I would feel the effects maybe twice as much as before I was taking Accutane. Additionally, you have to have a good moisturizer or your face or it will be too dry and will crack and bleed, especially when you make expressive faces such as smiling. Aveeno was my go-to moisturizer, as Cetaphil includes cetyl alcohol and would turn my face red (from the increased sensitivity). I would try more before doing Accutane if I had the choice again, especially in regards to looking at my diet and removing the things that were clearly exacerbating my cystic acne. The treatment from start to finish in terms of applying for it, taking it, finishing it and the work with the hospitals along the way...I’d say the process is a little bit bumpy especially in getting your Accutane prescription from the pharmacy when iPLEDGE is taking a long time to verify your prescription but mostly it’s a simple process involving a monthly visit to the doctor for a checkup and a pharmacy visit.