So, not long after I posted about my son not being on Roaccutane yet, the inevitable happened. Yes, my younger son is now on Roaccutane, the third member of our family to go on the strongest acne drug there is – following in the footsteps of my eldest and myself.
Being on the Epiduo lotion had actually stabilised his face, which wasn’t looking much worse than the average teenager’s, but his back and chest weren’t good. And there was always the looming fear that his acne might spiral out of control like his brother’s did a couple of years ago.
My husband was reluctant for him to go on Roaccutane with acne that is classified as only mild to moderate. He always says we ‘just left it too late’ with my eldest. But we didn’t. When things went downhill, we acted as quickly as we could. But it wasn’t quick enough, because he was getting worse literally by the day. I hated him having to go through that, and I said I would never let it happen to my younger kids. Which means intervening early.
I’m always very aware of just how old my eldest was when the severe acne hit (15 years and two months), and how close my younger son is getting to that age (currently 14 years and seven months), also taking into account that my younger son reached puberty a few months earlier than my eldest.
We saw a different dermatologist and I was concerned that she wouldn’t understand the seriousness of the situation for our family.
Before we went to see her, my son and I looked at a photo to remind ourselves have just how bad things had got for his brother. It is an upsetting sight and one which I still struggle to believe really happened.
We told the dermatologist the treatments my son had been on to date – a mild benzoyl peroxide lotion (Acnecide), antibiotics (Lymecycline), then the stronger lotion (Epiduo). And we showed her the photo of my eldest so she understood just what we are up against.
She looked at my son’s chest and back and asked us what we wanted to do. My son has wanted Roaccutane for some time, as he is so worried about ending up like his brother. She told us that we had exhausted all of our other options, so it seemed like the right step to take to be sure of not spiralling out of control like my eldest did.
She ran us through the possible side effects – which I am so familiar with now. I remember hearing them for the first time when I went on Roaccutane myself four years ago and feeling sick – muscle aches, risk of depression, very dry skin… But actually, they didn’t seem so scary this time. She says the risk of depression is about one in a 1000. And it’s a lot higher than that generally, so that doesn’t seem bad at all. The muscle pain shouldn’t be a problem with existing activity, only if he suddenly changes what he does. So we will have to make sure he stays active over summer, so that he doesn’t have any issues when the rugby and football seasons come around again in the autumn.
Based on his weight, he could at a push take 60mg a day, but I’m glad she said he wouldn’t be having that high a dose. That is an awful lot for a young boy to take and his acne isn’t even severe. So he will take 20mg (one tablet) for three weeks, then increase the dose to 40mg after that. He will need another round of blood tests and a follow-up appointment in a few weeks. He will be on the treatment until nearly Christmas.
It’s slightly scary to be on the Roaccutane journey yet again, but I feel that we’re pretty much experts on it now. I’m glad that the dermatologist took notice of our family history and prescribed it early. I know that my son’s skin is never going to get liked his brother’s did and hopefully it will be completely clear by the autumn. Which makes it all worth it.