Hi and Welcome to ‘My Roaccutane Experience’
My name is Andrea, I am 45 years old and have previously suffered from facial acne until the age of 42. The too often outbreaks of active cystic acne were terrible to live with, driving me to my GP each time in tears and desperation.
My earliest memory was when I was prescribed, at the age of 12, the contraceptive pill Dianette because of its acne remedy properties. This wasn’t a cure as I remember going through school with my skin problems. Then whilst at college at the age of 17 a friend suggested anti-biotics and a cream called Quinoderm that I got from my GP. Again this only calmed the situation not cured. Throughout the years and through my different ages I have tried all over the counter topical solutions but nothing helped.
I lost faith a bit in any medication as nothing seemed to make a difference so I continued put up with it for many years. This was an emotional rollercoaster, there were times I coped and made myself believe it wasn’t so bad and there were times I would feel depressed and desperate for my skin to be different. I would always find myself looking around at everyone else and despair that I never saw anyone else with such skin problems. I really did feel that I was the only one.
I don’t have any photos to show you as understandably I would shy away from having my photo taken. People would say I look fine but I knew I didn’t and the camera was not kind.
I emigrated to France in 1992 until 2000 and whilst living there the problem disappeared. Is this maybe due to the exposure to the good weather, a different climate and maybe the Mediterranean diet? I never came across any French people with spots either!
After moving back to the UK my acne soon came back and this time it was much worse. I would have good days with few spots to bad days with huge outbreaks of cysts and painful spots. Each time it was really bad, I saw the doctor and was given antibiotics. This was a recurring cycle and never cured the problem; it just calmed it for a while.
In 2006 I was finally referred to see a dermatologist at the local hospital for Roaccutane treatment or Isotretinoin as it is also called. I hadn’t heard much about the drug at all at this stage and had done no research; I was just desperate for a solution. The dermatologist scared me to death with all the bad side effects that she said I would experience. She wasn’t prepared to give me the treatment and sent me back to the GP saying that I still hadn’t tried everything and Roaccutane should be a last resort.
So back to my life coping with my acne and outbreak after outbreak, more GP visits, more antibiotics and getting nowhere.
In November 2012 I had yet another bad break out which affected me emotionally. I really had had enough. 30 years of being a teenager had more than taken its toll! I went to my GP on 3rd December 2012, she diagnosed active cystic acne and was very sympathetic. She immediately referred me back to the dermatology clinic that I went to in 2006 saying that Roaccutane really was the only solution left and she wasn’t prepared to try anything else as I had already been on anything she thought would work.
At this same time, Roaccutane was receiving a lot of bad press and so to make up my own mind I watched a documentary on the drug which was trying to determine whether or not Isotretinoin was responsible for the suicide of a couple of people that were taking this treatment. This led me to do a lot more research on the drug, and I came to the decision that in my opinion it cannot be responsible for thoughts of self harming.
I had to wait 3 months for an appointment and then finally met with the senior dermatologist at the same clinic as before. However, much to my surprise I had a very different experience. This Doctor completely understood my situation and told me within 30 seconds of me walking in to the room that I had muzzle acne and must take Isotretinoin. His enthusiasm, positive outlook and own experiences of Roaccutane left me with no doubt whatsoever that this was the right thing to do. I agreed with him that people being cured of acne get happier contrary to the ideas of the bad press. He explained fully the process that I would follow, the side effects I could experience and how to cope with them. He even gave me his email address and insisted I contact him at any point if I wasn’t sure of something or concerned however slight. He has put me on a 16 week course and has booked for me to return to see him in 8 weeks time for a checkup. I left feeling fully supported and happy in the knowledge that finally after all these years a cure does exist! I can’t explain to you how good that feels!
I collected my prescription the same day and so my story starts.
Please use the links in the navigation bar above to follow my story of life on Roaccutane or