General Question

wowsville's avatar

Accutane results timeline?

Asked by wowsville (3points) May 6th, 2008

how long did it take for your acne to clear up on accutane?

I am entering the target dosage month for my weight at month 5 (or 6? lost count..) and it just seems to get worse and worse or plateau..

does it happen after you finish? should it be working by now? it’s awful. and my doctor is an unapproachable dbag who always says “we’re making progress,” so I have no gauge on this really.

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19 Answers

gailcalled's avatar

Change your doctor, please…now.

wowsville's avatar

to gailcalled:

because he is an asshole or because it should have been working by now?

it seems too hard to get all of the paperwork changed over to someone else at this point, you have no idea (unless you have been on it in the last year? in which case you totally understand) how much red tape there is surrounding accutane from the govt.

shilolo's avatar

Wowsville, I am by no means an expert on accutane, but your “results” are fairly typical. It can take a long time (up to years) to see the results of accutane, so if you can bare the side effects (what ever they are), you might consider continuing.
Now, as far as your doctor is concerned, you should try to find one a bit more understanding. I know about the paperwork (I took accutane myself about 20 years ago). If you are a woman, it is even worse. Still, you shouldn’t have to put up with someone being so mean to you.

scamp's avatar

gail’s right, If your doctor isn’t communicating with you and your problem is getting worse instead of better, you should seek a new doctor. shilolo seems to have just given you more information than your doctor has, and if you can get more understanding from an unknown person on the internet that from your own doctor who knows your history, something is very wrong. Don’t forget, the doctor works for you, not the other way around. Don’t put up with that treatment.

omfgTALIjustIMDu's avatar

@wowsville: I just finished my dosage a couple months ago. You should have seen at least a little improvement by now, and the dryness should be letting up a bit (though all the other side-effects could still be in full-swing, and will be for a couple weeks after you take your last pill).
If you really haven’t seen any improvement, I would advise you to stay the course for at least a couple more months (it took me a long time to show any improvement too).

Personally, I showed a LOT more improvement in the few weeks after I took my last pill. I have now been off for a couple months (after being on for almost 8), and my skin is beautiful; I couldn’t be happier with it.

If you have any other questions about my experience or what to expect, send me a PM.

gailcalled's avatar

I know nothing about accutane or the red tape involved, but I do know something about arrogant and unapproachable Docs. That behavior is unforgiveable. I can’t guess your age but do you have a parent or partner who can be your advocate and handle the paper work imbroglio?

omfgTALIjustIMDu's avatar

@Gail: Accutane isn’t the easiest drug to come by in America. Its administration to patients is monitored very closely by the government because of it’s serious side-effects. It is especially hard to switch doctors while in the middle of Accutane treatment because the doctor has to register you every month with the Accutane distribution company, iPledge, and switching doctors can get complicated with the paperwork.

gailcalled's avatar

@Tali; Oh, dear. So wowsville is lumbered w. this Doc? I still would recommend that he take an older advocate w. him on the next visit to perhaps get the Dr.s attention.

shilolo's avatar

There is no doubt in my mind that Wowsvilles’ concerns would be mitigated by a more understanding and communicative doctor. All Wowsville needs is a little bit of empathy and encouragement to temper the frustration associated with a lack of significant results.

@Wowsville. Hopefully, once the treatments are done, you can say goodbye to this doctor and move on to someone with better interpersonal skills.

scamp's avatar

Since you seem to be stuck with this doctor for now, try writing him a letter and voicing your concerns, and you displeasure at the way he treats you. Most states have a place where you can send complaints about a doctor. For example, the board of professional regulation handles this in Florida. If after letting the doctor know of you concerns and complaints, he doesn’t change his tune, you could write to complain to whatever agency governs his licensing.

I had a problem with my surgeon not communicating well with me some time after a knee surgery. I went into his office with a list of things I wanted to discuss. He took the list, and we went over them one by one. that helped me to get some questions answered, so I do it each time I see him now, and it has worked very well for us both. You might want to try that next visit with your doctor.

wowsville's avatar

@ shilolo : yeah I guess I am just getting a soundboard going on how long it takes from the experienced ppl out there. It would be nice if the [Dr. Stephen Kraus, Atlanta GA; read: people never go to him.] Doc could be sensitive even in the slightest to my concerns.

I’m old enough to TCB myself, he is just intimidating and I have actually collaborated with my mom on some formal complaints to him because she could manage all of the details I would forget. Bad news? Now their staff is just scared of me. haha NOT WHAT I WANTED. no special treatment, just treatment please.

good news is that the side effects are low, depression is low and that kind of thing (which although a relief, feeds my fears that it isn’t working at all…. .)

shilolo's avatar

I’m really sorry you are in this predicament. You might want to call around for other dermatologists and see if anyone would take you on. You could try to switch immediately after receiving one month’s dose from your current doctor, which would give you one month to work out the red tape.
When I took accutane, I had terrible cheilitis (the cracking at the side of the lips) and back pains. I don’t remember exactly how long I took it (I feel like it was probably about 6 months), but my acne eventually all went away.

ecogal's avatar

I was on Accutaine for longer than average – about 6 months – before I saw results, but I never experienced a worsening in symptoms. Three years later, my symptoms are coming back, which is typical. A friend of mine has been on the treatment at least 3 times, which as you know by now, is awful.

Your doctor should be seeing you at least once per month, as s/he’s only allowed to prescribe a few weeks of meds at once. The next time you’re in, I’d ask your nurse 1) if there are known long-term health effects for extended treatments, 2) at what point you will be taken off the meds if you condition continues to worsen or not improve and 3) if results like yours have been common in their practice. (Also, share with them if you’re having any other symptoms, like dizziness, headaches, blurry vision, etc.) If nothing else, you can elect to stop the meds at any time if you feel uncomfortable.

The biggest surprise to me was realizing that the effects of the meds wear off over time, which I was never told by my doctor (who was fantastic in every other respect). Knowing this may help you decide whether or not to continue with the treatment.

Good luck!

gailcalled's avatar

Wows: I never go to any Doctor (no matter how nice and user-friendly they are) without a written list of questions in order of importance. I date it and keep a copy. I number my questions and keep them clear, short and understandable.

When Doc. walks in, I say “Hi” and hand him my list. Then I ostentatiously take notes. And when I have a complaint, I use the carrot and stick technique. I never raise my voice or sound angry….but I say what I need to say. It is easier, of course, if you are my age, and are not dealing w. a controlled drug. (I also have been known to take a box of chocs. to the nurses. Often they can be your allies.)

Keep us posted.

wowsville's avatar

he listened!

I don’t know if it was the fact that I had a different nurse this time, or the fact that I said to her “it just isn’t working,” (or the fact that it was so painfully obvious that his lack of attention was all over my face.. . ) but he actually spent 15 minutes with me gasp haha. I have literally timed the man before people, one time I get 7 minutes with him and the time before was a smidge longer but nothing over 10. these doctors! the ego of scheduling that many people in a day.

he put me on a partnering anti-inflammatory with the accutane, samples of a birth control that should also help, was actually attentive.. it was downright weird.

Yeah I am going to have to be on for the full 6 months, seems i miscounted and I have only just finished up month 4 (feels like an eternity)

scamp's avatar

I’m so glad you had a better experience with him this time. Sometimes you have to shake doctors up to get their attention. Kudos to you for putting your foot down! I hope the new treatment helps, and your visits with him are better in the future.

shilolo's avatar

@Wowsville. I’m glad you had a better visit this time. I just wanted to comment on one point in your latest point, which is the issue of scheduling. This is a very tough problem. If your doctor works at an HMO, then it is the HMO that demands he see X number of patients per day, which could be 20–30. Even if he is working for himself (i.e. private practice), insurance companies pay so little per office visit that doctors often have to schedule a lot of patients in order to turn a profit.

2accut's avatar

If you are taking 0.5mg per kilo or even more which is standard dosage than somethings wrong. Positive Accutane results are visible 4–8 weeks after the treatment stared so you should have serious conversation with your dermatologist!

mollysmithee's avatar

Despite being pretty much the most effective drug for very severe acne that was ever on the market, accutane has some pretty frightening side effects-so much so that there have been a number of serious lawsuits taken out against the manufacturer The most serious cases have involved various forms of permanent digestive disorders. I took it in my late teens and was pretty taken aback when it was taken off the market.

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