Accutane: My Experience with This Acne Medication

By Emily, age 21, Newfoundland
Sweet Designs Featured Writer

Editor's Note: The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author, based on her personal experiences. Sweet Designs Magazine neither recommends nor advises against the use of this or any medication. We do not have the expertise to evaluate the efficacy, risks, or possible side effects of a medication. For risks and possible side effects, we refer you to an informational page on, and urge you to discuss treatment options with your doctor or dermatologist.

For those of you who have never heard of Accutane, it's an oral medication that is used to treat extreme acne. When I say "extreme acne," I mean that Accutane is used only as a last resort. There has been a lot of controversy over whether or not Accutane is safe to use, but as a veteran user, I can tell you that it is an "it depends" kind of situation.

There was a story a couple of years ago about a man who took Accutane, developed a mental disorder (the specific one escapes me) that he said caused him to kill the doctor who prescribed the medication. While the drug may be dangerous, I believe that his prescription was too high for his body to handle. The doctor prescribed for him to start off with 80 mg per day of the drug, which is extremely dangerous.

The label says that the side effects are pretty extreme. Accutane may cause feelings of depression, suicidal thoughts, liver damage, extreme dry skin, etc., because of the nature of the drug. It affects your hormone levels similarly to the birth control pill, only in much more severe ways. You have to have liver function tests because the drug can destroy your liver. You also have to take monthly pregnancy tests because if you are pregnant while taking this drug or become pregnant too soon after you finish taking the drug, it can have harmful effects on the fetus. In extreme cases it can also cause schizophrenia.

I took Accutane for 6 months, which is the suggested amount of time to be on the drug. Even though it was torture being on the drug, it was definitely worth it in the end.

My acne was absolutely terrible before I began taking Accutane. I always had really deep blackheads that caused big bumps all over my face. I also had painful whiteheads around the side of my face where my neck meets my head. My blackheads were huge and disgusting, and I had tried everything to get rid of them - face washes, topical creams, astringent, etc. So when I heard about Accutane, I jumped on the opportunity.

For the first couple of months, my blackheads got much bigger, but I was told to expect this. The doctor warned me that the problem has to get worse before it can get better. My skin also became extremely dry. I had to use heavy cream all over my face and body every day, or else it would crack and peel.

Then I became extremely depressed. It felt like I was in perpetual PMS. I cried all the time for no reason and always felt lonely.

But after a couple of months, my acne started clearing up. I didn't feel like I had to wear as much makeup or nearly as often. My self-confidence definitely grew 10 fold.

It did, however, cause me to put on weight. Not much, but a little. The monthly tests were annoying, but a necessary evil.

So overall, Accutane was my miracle drug, but it's only supposed to be used in extreme, "no-other-choice" types of situations.

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February & March Magazine Issues

March 15, 2012

The February and March issues of Sweet Designs Magazine are now online, featuring a combined 53 new articles and features!!

- Cover: Stephanie Lynn reflects on 5 years
- Cover: India (of Darn-licious knitwear)
- Life in the dumps (moving in with my bf)
- The difference between men and women
- Angels among us (parts 1 and 2)
- Arts graduates & the dark night of the soul
- Triple threat (how I survived my teen yrs)
- Dating isn't easy (my true story)
- How to turn not-so-great gifts ... (fashion)
- Ten reasons to love being single
- Taking the big leap (college)
- Valentine's Day (not what you'd expect!)
- The last of the cold (hopefully) (fashion)
- A month full of love
- Ten tips for successful airline travel
- Reasons I love writing for SDM
- Who needs love?
- They're not all the same
- The life I'm glad I don't have (fiction)
- Professional dress/ finding Fendi (fashion)
- An airport anniversary: a true story
- Inappropriate Facebook photos
- The perks of a big city (college)
- A night(mare) to forget (part 2)
- The Anita Blake series (book review)
- Saving June by Hannah Harrington (book)
- Under the Mesquite by GG McCall (book)
- The Lullaby by Sarah Dessen (book)
- If I Stay by Gayle Foreman (book review)
- My sweetheart (original poetry)
- Isn't it funny (original poetry)
- The stranger (original poetry)
- A winter wonderland (original poetry)
- One night valentine
- The thick envelopes (college acceptance)
- Southern love
- Healthy hair and vitamins
- It's a date (dating idea alternatives)
- The 30 hour famine
- School's out forever!
- Marching right back into spring? (fashion)
- Dear John
- When TV shows depict your life
- 3 Fun ways to rock spring's hottest trends
- Neglected teeth
- Starting something new
- Guy movies
- To hesitate or dive in?
- Deadly, by Julie Chibbaro (book review)
- Beastly, by Alex Flinn (book review)
- I don't care (poetry)
- Together, alone (poetry)

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