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Post in Acne-Prone Skin

Accutane and psychological effects?

I know there's been prior posts about Accutane, but I was just wondering if anyone else has any additional insight.  I have oily skin, oily hair, acne-prone skin, etc.  It's gotten much worse actually since I stopped the birth control pill and got the Paraguard IUD (no hormones).  I was hoping it would improve my skin (for some women it does since the hormonal component can worsen acne), but unfortunately for me it seems the extra hormones help my skin.  So I started taking the pill again.  But my dermatologist insists that Accutane is a miracle drug and can clear up acne and oil for good.  My concern of course are the side effects- particularly the psychological ones since I have depression & anxiety.  I could possibly endure the side effects for the duration of the treatment, but I worry that the Accutane will cause long-lasting effects after I stop taking it.  Of course it's impossible to predict if Accutane will cause permanent damage for me, but I'm curious to hear others' experiences, especially if you have a history of mental health conditions.

Re: Accutane and psychological effects?

Hi Feline5190  Did you express your concerns to the dermatologist?  He/she should be able to tell you what percentage of users experience that side effect and whether it would be a worthwhile risk. Also if you are seeing a psychiatrist, you might want to check in with him/her.  Even though psychiatrists don't prescribe accutane, they should be familiar with drugs that are known to have possible psychological effects.

Re: Accutane and psychological effects?

I took accutane, and I swear it's caused me some issues, such as irritable bowel syndrome, and bone density loss, and guess what? didn't work for me. i still have lots of acne. so... when i see people want to try it, i think, what a bad idea. doesn't always work. i hope it works for you, if you decide that's the course you want to take. i didn't suffer any psychological issues, that i know of. good luck again.

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Re: Accutane and psychological effects?

I agree with Keely you need to discuss these issues with the doctor who prescribed it to you so it can be worked out correctly. Best of luck!

Re: Accutane and psychological effects?

I definitely think you should consult your doctor or derm before you make a final decision.  I thought about going on accutane but decided against it because of all the potential side effects.  I think if you already suffer from depression & anxiety, there's a good chance that accutane might affect that or make it worse.  Also, I think there are other side effects that can impact health long-term like Crohn's disease, other auto-immune diseases, etc. (this is what my doc told me since I already have one auto-immune disease, hypo-thyroidsm). However, I am not a doctor and therefore can't give medical advice.  I just think Accutane is NOT to be taken lightly, and you really need to consider all the potential risks it poses before starting it.

 

I've struggled with acne for years and years and suffer from oily skin as well.  In our last-ditch effort before accutane, she presecribed me spironolactone and it has significantly helped my acne and oil production.  It has something to do with the androgens/hormones in our body. One site says "simply, spironolactone limits hormonal fluctuations that can contribute to acne breakouts.  Hormones, specifically androgens, have been linked to the development of acne". Perhaps discuss this with your doctor and see what he/she says since your acne may be potentially linked to hormones?  I think there are loads of options out there that you should investigate before taking the leap and trying out accutane.

 

Hang in there--you'll find something that works for you!

 

I hope this helps and best of luck!

Re: Accutane and psychological effects?

Thanks for the advice!  I definitely consulted my doctors regarding my issues and the potential side effects.  My dermatologist insists the side effects are rare and I should give the Accutane a try.  My psychiatrist insists I shouldn't try it- not me specifically, but anybody because he has had patients who experienced increased anxiety/agitation because of it (of course the patients who didn't experience negative effects wouldn't bring that to his attention, so his opinion may be biased).  So I'm conflicted, because I have one doctor insisting it works well with rare side effects, and one doctor who insists it is no good.  Ultimately, I don't think I'm going to take it, especially as I get more first-hand accounts of negative side effects.

 

My derm did prescribe me Spironolactone (mainly for concerns I have about hair thinning, but it is also supposed to work well for acne/oily skin).  I've been on it for about a month now, and I think it has helped my acne somewhat (although my acne tends to fluctaute in cycles, so time will tell).  But, Spiro can also interfere with anti-depressants (which I think may be happening, but I can't be sure yet).  So I'm not sure if I'll be able to stay on the Spiro long term.

Re: Accutane and psychological effects?

I started taking Accutane back in October and next month will be my last month on it. I've seen amazing results, and I was pretty scared of the side effects before I started on it, too but most of the serious side-effects are really rare.

But the most common are dry skin, dry lips, back pain, and fatigue. Some mood swings could occur, also. Ask your dermatologist how long he thinks you'd need to take it, and I think you should personally try it out yourself but consult your doctors and/or dermatologist if you feel like your depression or anxiety are getting worse. He or she will probably take you off of it. Everyone does have different side effects to it considering its such a strong drug, but I really think you should give it a shot. 

Re: Accutane and psychological effects?

I have had friends take it and see great results! However, I have heard some horror stories. Apparently there is a new study going to see if Accutane has made people infertile. I feel like if you're tried EVERYTHING, than talk to your talk doctor about it. 

Re: Accutane and psychological effects?

Hi there - not sure if you've made a final decision on this yet, but I figured I'd share what I do know.  I've heard lots about Accutane as well, and a few of my friends have been prescribed it and it worked great for them...for their acne.  I also know that it's being regulated pretty strictly here in Canada, because of the dangerous side effects - not only psychological - it's extremely hard on your liver & kidneys.  It's kind of a last-resort, and only prescribed for severe cystic acne.  I'd be weary about taking it - really weigh the risks vs. benefits!  My close friend who took it had really dry skin, and had to constantly apply spf75+ sunscreen, because it does make your skin extra sensitive to UV damage, among other things..He closely followed his Dr's instructions though - NO alcohol, SPF, etc., and those were pretty well the extent of his (visible) side effects.  Good luck!!!!

Re: Accutane and psychological effects?

I'd say no to Accutane...especially since you have a history of depression and anxiety.

 

Accutane cost someone I know the ultimate price...and his parents now speak out against the dangers of that drug and its use by folks with mental health histories. 

 

Listen to your mental healthcare professional.  A derm is NOT qualified to make that call...

Re: Accutane and psychological effects?

that is the reason i refused to take accutane. instead, look into spironolactone. for me, it was a lifechanging miracle.

 

Re: Accutane and psychological effects?

iItI was taking accutane for three months and had to stop.  It gave me all different types of side effects.  Arthritis, back pain, chest congestion, and when my hair fell like I'm on chemo therapy, I just couldn't continue with the accurate anymore.  Ask your dermatologist for atralin. It's a topical gel, which is amazing.

Re: Accutane and psychological effects?

Thanks for all the advice!  I haven't made a definitive decision yet, I still keep going back and forth.  Ultimately I don't think I'll try the Accutane because of all the potential side effects and the possible side effect of hair loss, which is another one of my concerns.  Although, it is frustrating and painful when I get the cystic acne.  The cysts are sometimes so painful I can't lie on that side of my face on my pillow.  And they take FOREVER to clear up- I really only get one or two cysts at a time, but they take so long to heal- and then there's the scarring.  I tried the Spiro (for acne and hair loss), but it made me more depressed and very lethargic- probably interfered with one of my medications.

Re: Accutane and psychological effects?

I was all set to go and entered in the system for accutane but I just couldn't go through with it. There was just too many risks involved. Instead I ended up getting chemical peels and it cleared up my severe acne. I get some tiny ones on my face here and there but nothing like before. I got them routinely done every months. Since my skin has cleared up I'm looking at lasering to take away the scarring/hyperpigmentation. 

Re: Accutane and psychological effects?

How much do chemical peels cost?  I'm guessing insurance doesn't cover it?  I'm all set to get the Accutane, but I don't think I'm going to go through with it.  Just too risky, and I would probably get at least some of the side effects, since I tend to be side effect prone in general.  

Re: Accutane and psychological effects?

Chemical peels really vary by location & what they include. Shop around on groupon & living social. My med spa always has package deals on there. And one peel is not going to fix it, that's why they are normally sold in a series. 

Re: Accutane and psychological effects?

Is there any specific type of peel that is best for chronic acne (especially the cystic kind)?  I've never gotten a peel or facial before, so I really have no idea.  I got a Clarisonic about 6 months ago, and I thought it would be a good investment for clearing up my acne for good.  It has helped my face to feel more clean and has lessened my oil production, but the acne still persists.  It sounds like chemical peels may do the job (although my dermatologist insists that nothing topical will resolve acne- oral meds are the best route, specifically Accutane, which he touts as the wonder drug).

Re: Accutane and psychological effects?

Glycolic peels are really strong, just be prepared for dryness & redness. I tend to do peels in the winter when there's less risk of sun sensitivity & I can give my skin time to heal. Most spas/offices will do a free consoltation before they start to make sure you are getting the right treatment. I've never tried it, but I heard good things about acne blue light therapy at the med spas. 

Re: Accutane and psychological effects?

I took Accutane for two years in high school, from ages 15-17. I had horrific acne, scarring, oily skin, oily hair, as well as psoriasis on my scalp and body. I also had moderate depression. During that time, I had no noticeable psychological side effects, and in fact I felt more happy because I was starting to feel better about how I looked. I would say if acne and skin oiliness, etc. are severe enough for your doctor to recommend taking Accutane, then it can't hurt to look into it. Just make sure you use consistant birth control (as accutance causes birth defects), and if you start feeling blue, talk to you doctor right away. It also can't hurt to go to talk therapy while taking Accutane, to make sure that your depression and anxiety stay in check! Good luck!!! Smiley Happy

Re: Accutane and psychological effects?

Dear Feline5190,

 

I agree with most of the posts regarding the side-effects of accutane.  I had friends who took it and they had depression, dry skin, dry lips, hair loss, etc.  

 

I understand that you are frustrated with your skin but I think that you can find a healthier solution than accutane.  I know that you are now on Spiro, but should this does not work, have you talked to your dermatologist about clindamycin?  I have combination skin that is prone to break out under stress and during my menstrual cycle.  When I went on vacation in east asia, my skin freaked out and I started to break out like crazy with some cystic acne and some smaller white heads but they didn't clear up after I got back to the states.  I was so frustrated at that time that I asked my doctor about accutane and she said absolutely not!  She told me that the risks just really outweigh the benefits.  Instead, she prescribed oral clindamycin.  It worked wonderfully for my skin.  It dried up the acne right away and I haven't really had any cystic acne since and it has been 2 years.  

 

The only thing about clindamycin is that since it is an antibiotic, you need to drink your meds on time and make sure that you drink ALL of them or you will build up resistance to it.  Also, if you are on the pill as a contraceptive, clindamycin may lessen the effectiveness of your pill.  I really would recommend talking to your doc regrading clindamycin.

 

I hope this helps.  Good Luck!!!

 

 

Re: Accutane and psychological effects?

I took Accutane and it is a miracle drug! Yes there are negative side effects but if your acne is bad it is worth it! I tried many oral and topical prescriptions before I took Accutane but non of them really worked that well I was on it for about it year and even though I had dry peeling skin and lips but once you have finished taking the medication and your acne is gone you will be extremely glad you took it. About mental health side effects, for me it did not make me depressed nor did I have thoughts of suicide. While it has happened to people taking it, it is still rare. The important thing is just to try to be aware of how you are feeling and if you feel bad talk to your doctor. 

Re: Accutane and psychological effects?

I used accutane when I was in high school. My acne hasn't been as bad since. But In the last two years my acne has started to get worse.  I am on birth control and in graduate school so I think stress and extra horrmones might be affecting my skin. But I am getting back and chest acne for the first time ever and i definitely get acne all over my face still.  I think accutane is more of a temporary thing.  Overall it helped a lot but I still get acne.

Re: Accutane and psychological effects?

I used accutane when I was in high school. My acne hasn't been as bad since. But In the last two years my acne has started to get worse.  I am on birth control and in graduate school so I think stress and extra horrmones might be affecting my skin. But I am getting back and chest acne for the first time ever and i definitely get acne all over my face still.  I think accutane is more of a temporary thing.  Overall it helped a lot but I still get acne.

 

also keep in mind, you cannot donate blood, and it can potentially create birth defects

Re: Accutane and psychological effects?

I had been taking birth control for 5 years, and 6 months ago I decided to get an IUD (non-hormonal) to see if that would clear up my chronic acne.  It actually made it much worse, and now I have cystic acne and back acne I didn't have before.  So it's interesting, because the extra hormones clear up acne for some people or make it worse for others.  It's impossible to predict what will happen to each individual person.  I started taking the pill again a couple months ago, and my acne has improved somewhat but not completely (still get cysts).  

Re: Accutane and psychological effects?

I took Accutane when I was around 16 years old (I'm 24 now) because I had bad acne (both cystic and whiteheads) and nothing else seemed to work. Unfortunatley, neither did the Accutane and I was on it close to the maximum time you're supposed to be on it. It can be the miracle drug for some people (it worked wonders for my sister), but it's not always the case. Honestly, it's a lot of trial and error of finding out what works for your skin. If you're concerned about the psychological side, try it for a month or two, and if you feel fine, keep going. Take it month to month.

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