Tuesday, January 17, 2006


My Acutane Experience

I have been suffering with acne since I was 14 years old. I had tried all prescription topical medications there were and had undergone several procedures like comedo extraction regularly. I can say that my acne was controlled until I reached 4th year college (with the thesis and graduation coming up and all those stresses) when acne suddenly flared up. It was not your ordinary pimple, but really big ones all over my face - we referred to it in Medicine as fluctuant cystic acne probably with sinus tracts. It just means that I had really big pimples with pus and other pimples are just so big that they rupture and communicate with other through tracts underneath the skin. In short, it was the worst!!! My derma was so surprised when I consulted her.

Without doing any detailed history and thorough examination, she recommended Isotretinoin. The brand name is Accutane in the US and Roaccutane in the Philippines for it is marketed by Roche. The good thing with this oral medication, as she explained, is that it targets the 4 MAIN FACTORS in acne formation. But she warned me that it was expensive. It cost me around 22,000 pesos - a regimen of oral drug costing 120 pesos a day for 6 months. I consulted my parents first. Fortunately, they financed it.

It was a tiny maroon capsule, but it really worked wonders. In just around a month, my face improved. Although, the most undesirable and conspicuous side effect was the chapping of my lips. It really dried my skin and lips. I had to liberally put moisturizer, sometimes petroleum jelly, on my skin and bring lip balm most of the time. Fortunately, that was the only side effect I experienced. In the US, there were reports of depression and suicide associated with Accutane intake especially among teenagers. It is also a teratogen which can cause birth defects if given to a pregnant mom. Accutane is a REGULATED DRUG here in the Philippines. You cannot get it just anywhere. During that time, I had availed it only through my physician and at Mercury Drug Quiapo Branch. Other Mercury Drug Branches don't carry it. In the Mercury Drug, I had to furnish them with two copies of prescription and present an ID. One time, they even called my doctor to confirm the prescription. Actually, there is a topical formulation of Accutane here in the Philippines manufactured by Stiefel. But, my dermatologist warned me against using those. It is not as effective as the oral Accutane medication.

After 6 months, my face really cleared up, of course except those deep scars which are inevitable on cystic acne. I was so happy that the derma brought it up. Actually, she had been recommending it even during the first years of my acne. However, I turned it down because of its cost. But, it's worth it, every peso of it. Now, after 3 years, my face is really acne-free. I would sometimes have a pimple, but they would appear singly. My derma said that I would expect it to be like this for the next five years or so, but of course, I still have to have regular peeling and apply topical tretinoin regularly.

I am now saving up to have my scars filled up with collagen fillers.

P.S. I reckon that it would be better if I post my pre- and post- Accutane pictures. Ok, I'll look for those photos.

Read: Acne Treatment

Posted by dr1van @ 12:20 AM

Have these Designs printed on your Shirts

Hollywood Celebs

Filipino Celebrities

T-shirts and Gifts

Be a Plastic Surgeon

Pretend you're Dr. Vicki Belo or Dr. Manny Calayan. Retoke a Star. Click here.