Accutane (Claravis) = my Rebirth at Age 26!

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After trying every over-the-counter and...

After trying every over-the-counter and prescription acne treatment known to man, I decided to end my skincare battle for good. I've struggled with acne and oily skin for the majority of my life and had always resisted the use of Accutane because I feared the side effects, namely: depression/suicide & hair loss/thinning. I was also leery about the mandatory use of birth control because of my family's history of blood clots. Fast forward to my 26th birthday - I decided I was done with blotting my face's oil with a tissue constantly. I wasn't going to let my acne breakouts determine my weekend plans and my daily mood anymore.

I made an appointment with a local dermatologist and she gave me the go-ahead for Claravis (Accutane's generic form). They drew blood (for liver enzyme testing) and made me pee in a cup (for pregnancy testing) and once the tests came back fine, I started treatment. My first side effects were a really itchy scalp, a bumpy rash on my hands, and dry/itchy skin patches on my arms. These were annoying, but the progress I saw in the mirror (within a matter of 3-4 weeks) was extremely encouraging. My face was clearing up! I could literally see the clogged comedones emerging from my pores like Play-Doh pushed through a colander - and I was washing them away! My skin was smoother and definitely less oily, and I was responding well to the drug.

My doctor and I met monthly and I took the tests as scheduled, and she upped my dosage a few times because the progress was good but not great. If I remember correctly, I started out on 30MG/day, then was upped to 40MG/DAY, then 60, and finally 80. Then I got a phone call from the doctor's office: my liver levels were off. WAY off. They told me to come in ASAP for a blood re-draw and told me to stop taking the Claravis. In hindsight, it makes perfect sense: I had HORRIBLE headaches throughout the day and was often nauseous and very fatigued. Claravis was killing my liver! It's now a few months later and they have me back on the drug, but at a much lower dosage. Here is what I learned: 1) When they tell you not to drink alcohol while on this medicine, they MEAN IT (even 1 or 2 is bad for you); 2) I was taking prenatal vitamins and other supplements while on this drug (in a vain attempt to curb any hair loss) but in combination with Claravis, it is just TOO MUCH for your liver to process on a daily basis; 3) I was also big into energy drinks to combat the fatigue I was feeling from a failing liver and those vitamin-fortified beverages are also too much for one's liver to handle while on Claravis. So do NOT drink them while on the drug.

Overall, my satisfaction is VERY HIGH! My life has changed dramatically since starting Claravis. I've lost over 40 lbs. because I just generally feel better about myself. With my new clear skin, I had the confidence to approach a handsome guy and now we are happily dating. I'm performing better at work because of my increased self-respect. I don't need hardly any makeup at all to leave the house anymore. I feel reborn! I should note that I am also doing Invisalign in addition to the Claravis and of course the weight loss - all of these programs are helping to shape me into the person I've only dreamed of being. I feel very blessed and wish I had started Claravis earlier. I recommend anyone with confidence-robbing acne to look into this option. It's certainly not for everyone, but it has its place and I am grateful that it helped me.

Dr. Kirsten Antonneau

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