Acne Relapse Rates for Adults After Treatment with Accutane

I'm a male and didn't get acne until I was 25. My diet really hasn't changed (now it's super healthy). Is there a particular reason for why I got acne as a male that late? I'm on accutane now, what are the relapse rates like for adult acne?

Doctor Answers 3

Your best chance for cure is with an aggressive initial dose

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I have found that higher doses equal longer and more complete remissions. I have also found less success with each subsequent course of Accutane. I am unsure if this has been proven or published, but after 25 years of using this drug, that has been my experience.

Depends on Dose

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Let me add to Dr. Chen's well done response.

Studies have shown that the rate is higher for those who have had a lower cumulative dose per weight. Roche, when they were involved in Accutane, used to stress to us, that many physicians ( and I plead guilty) under-dosed their patients. To get full and total ablation of acne, higher cumulative doses are required.

This also means, one can use a lower dosage, but extend the duration of treatment an extra month or two ( six months rather than four).

Arnold R. Oppenheim, MD
Virginia Beach Dermatologist

Accutane relapse rates

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Good question. I am not aware of any adult-specific relapse rate data, however, in one large study from Canada, overall, 41% of acne patients treated with isotretinoin had some degree of acne relapse, while 26% of patients required a second course of isotretinoin. Males younger than 16 had a greater rate of acne relapse than adults. Regardless, there is a good chance that you will not relapse and if you do, the acne that returns is extremely unlikely to be as bad as it was prior to starting accutane.

Good luck.

Bryan K. Chen, MD
San Diego Dermatologist

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