Starting Roaccutane

A patient at The Harley Street Dermatology Clinic in London shares her experience of starting Roaccutane treatment for acne.

Starting Roaccutane - Part 1

Before starting treatment, I had to have another appointment with Dr Friedmann. This time blood tests were taken to check I wasn't pregnant. Falling pregnant on this medication is absolutely forbidden, with Dr F hammering that message home. The short of it is that it will deform the baby, so must not happen. Also anyone hoping to conceive soon after will have to wait for two menstrual cycles before they can.

Liver and cholesterol is also checked through the blood and is then monitored every eight weeks.

"Firstly spots get worse before they get better," Dr Friedmann warns. Oh great!

"The way we temper that is to put you on a small dose for the first month and then increasing to the standard dose after a month. So you get a bit of a flair up the first four weeks, a little bit more the next three or four weeks and by eight weeks you'll be back to how you are now. Or a bit better. And then the next eight to 12 weeks after that everything just fades away."

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Starting Roaccutane - Part 2

It's been another four weeks on acne medication Roaccutane, and things really aren't as bad as I'd anticipated. In fact, in my case anyway, the dread I had about going on the medication was a waste of time. For months I'd weighed up what was worse; living with ugly and painful spots or all my skin flaking off (because I honestly thought the dry skin would be that bad). But apart from lips, which admittedly are pretty flaky, my skin hasn't been any drier than normal.

I don't know if that's because my skin is never usually dry, or because my dose isn't too high, but whatever the reason I'm really happy with it. Dr Friedmann says side effects shouldn't kick in now, as the dose won't be changing. I've been using Dermalogica's Active Moist religiously and the Skin Hydrating Masque twice a week, which has proven to be great.

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Starting Roaccutane - Part 3

So 60mg a day is going well. So well in fact, I'm kicking myself that I didn't up the dose from the very start. My lips have got a little flakier, especially around the edge, and my chin shows signs of dryness, but apart from that everything has remained the same.

While the side effects have all been more than manageable, I am looking forward to the end of the Roaccutane course. Firstly I want rid of peeling lips. Secondly l can't wait to be clumsy again - like catch my hand on the top of a drawer, walk into something or scratch my arm - and not be left with a visible mark where a chunk of skin has been taken out. Honestly I have the arms and legs of an 11-year-old boy who has been jumping about the place.

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