Moderate Acne with Lots of Whiteheads Will Accutane Work?

I have had acne since I was 13. I'm 23 now. I mostly have moderate acne: big red pimples, small red pimples and lots of whiteheads. Some of the whiteheads will stick around and turn into large big red pimples. The only thing that has ever worked for me was bactrim and tazorac which I was on for 3 and 1/3 yrs until bactrim stopped working. I have tired everything: aczone, duac, ampicillin, tetracycline class, retin a, atralin, differin with no results. Will accutane work for me?

Doctor Answers 2

Accutane for acne

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From your description, yes, Accutane would be good for you to try. Topicals don't work well enough for many people, and antibiotics like Bactrim only work while you take them. So long term, for people with specific types of acne, they are simply not enough. In these cases, Accutane is a great answer. Visit a board-certified dermatologist to discuss your options for going on Accutane.

Accutane for Acne

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Hi Lilly,

Accutane (or isotretinoin) is intended to be used for the treatment of moderate to severe recalcitrant acne.  This translates to moderate to severe acne, which does not respond to other treatments.  From your description, it sounds as though your skin may fit into this category.  However, I recommend visiting a dermatologist to discuss whether Accutane may work for you.  There are often other treatments (hormonal treatments or in-office treatments, such as Photodynamic Therapy and the Isolaz acne laser) that can help to clear acne, without needing to begin Accutane.  While Accutane works well for most patients, there are potential side effects to consider, though most people have a very safe and effective course of Accutane treatment.

Eric Schweiger, MD
New York Dermatologic Surgeon

These answers are for educational purposes and should not be relied upon as a substitute for medical advice you may receive from your physician. If you have a medical emergency, please call 911. These answers do not constitute or initiate a patient/doctor relationship.