My daughter started showing signs of cystic acne when she was 12. It was pretty bad when she was 13 along the forehead, and starting to get the pitted look on her cheeks.
I wanted to take her to a dermatologist but the way the system is, I had to have her evaluated by her pediatrician for at least 6 months before I could proceed. Our pediatrician put her on the usual antibiotics and Retin A gel. Didn’t help. He put her on EpiDuo which actually made a difference, but our insurance didn’t cover it, and it wasn’t enough of a difference.
The dermatologist suggested that she’d be a perfect candidate for Accutane because she was young, and she had the classic type of cystic acne.
The technical name is isotretinoin commonly sold under the trade names Accutane, Amnesteem, Claravis or Sotret.
Accutane works to shrink the oil glands, and I have to say it did a great job. My daughter still gets pimples, but it’s not cystic acne. We got one of those special cards that allows us to get Epiduo for $25, and the pump lasts a long time.
So, it wasn’t all fun and games being on Accutane. They have a special booklet that your teen has to read, and a website that they have to register and take an exam to ensure that they really read the booklet. The dermatologists office also needs to coordinate with you when you are ready for a prescription refill. And your pharmacist needs the code to punch in as well. So always carry the card with the special number with you everywhere, and write down the password because it’s a pain to recover it.
Before we could start, my daughter had to take a urine pregnancy test. Oh. My. Gosh. That was embarrassing. The person signing her in at the lab said “A pregnancy test? She’s 14?” I blustered and said “Yes, it’s for Accutane.” And my daughter is near tears with embarrassment.
When the results were sent back to the dermatologist, they plugged in the code, and we had seven days to get the prescription filled.
One pill a day.
We also spent quite some time in Sephora trying different lip balms since she had terribly chapped lips.
After one month, there was a moderate difference and no new breakouts. After two months, her skin was very clear. Her dermatologist said we could stop or we could do one more month. We decided to try one more month.
But after one week, my teenager girl had terrible IBS type symptoms with diarrhea and intestinal cramping. I called the doctor’s office, and they said to stop all together.
iPledgeProgram kept sending us alerts for a little bit after that saying we needed to do a final pregnancy test, but I confess, we blew them off.
iPledgeProgram also wanted her to have blood tests for pregnancy, but our dermatologist felt that was overkill, and my daughter turns into a quivering sobbing mass at the presence of a needle. So don’t hesitate to ask to use the urine test instead.
And every month, you will need to schedule a dermatologist appointment to get a new prescription. And then do the pregnancy test. And then log into the site, answer questions, and then let your dermatologist’s staff know it’s done. Then you can drop off the prescription to be filled.
I do think it was worth it for my daughter as her cystic acne was getting really bad.