Roaccutane – Where are we now?

Regular readers will know that my eldest and I have fought a long, hard battle with our skin in recent years. I went on Roaccutane, the strongest acne drug there is, nearly four years ago. My son went on it in the autumn of 2016.

It’s almost exactly three years since my skin spiralled out of control, leaving me with a face that looked barely human. Looking back, I really don’t know how I coped and how I faced the world, but you do it because you have no choice.

Eighteen months later, it was my son’s turn to watch his skin spiralling out of control. For a teenager, that is very hard to deal with, even though he coped brilliantly. For a parent, that is very hard to watch. You don’t want to see your child suffer, you don’t want to think of him having to put up with nasty comments, but you know children and teenagers can be cruel and you know that is exactly what is happening.

You are supposed to stay on Roaccutane for a few months and in the vast majority of cases, it cures acne completely.

So where are we now?

My son came off it in October last year. His skin was very clear and it still is, pretty much. He gets one or two small blemishes and they do scare me. They’re nothing in teenage terms, but it does worry me that it might be the beginning of him going downhill again.

I would hate him to have to go through that again and hate for him to become too reliant on medication. I am watching his face and neck carefully and hope he would tell me if his chest and back started to go wrong. If he needs more medication, I don’t want to leave it too late and for his skin to get out of control.

As for me, I’m STILL on Roaccutane. I’ve dropped my dose over the last year or so and I’m only on 5mg a day. To put that in perspective, I was on 20mg a day for a long time, and my son was actually on 40mg a day. My skin is completely clear, for the first time since I was at primary school.

When I went to see the dermatologist at the end of last year, he advised me to take Roaccutane every other day. I did this for five weeks. Then I got two spots. Two spots is nothing. Two spots is OK. I can live with two spots. But two spots quickly became four spots. Would it quickly become eight spots, then 16 spots? I couldn’t take the risk. I know how quickly and how badly my skin can change. So I’m back to taking Roaccutane every day.

Will my son’s skin stay clear? Will I ever get off Roaccutane?

Who knows.

Roaccutane, Son, Acne, 365, Roaccutane - where are we now?


Author: Sarah Mummy

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  1. Thanks for sharing your update Sarah. My daughter reacted very well to Roaccutane and stopped taking it after 4 months. However, having been off it for a month, she feels that things are starting to go downhill. Only a few spots but as you say, it can soon escalate! So…. we’re back at the dermatologist tomorrow to probably start it again for another couple of months. I think 4 months was a very short course so it’s not entirely unexpected that it is coming back. Fingers crossed for you and your son x

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    • Very sensible to go back to the dermatologist! Hopefully she’s sorted with another prescription now and her skin can go back to being lovely and clear. Normally you hear about people going on it for between six and 11 months.

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  2. We are about to go back to the doc as he’s turned 12. Funny thing is, last term, we kind of let him just coast and he got detentions and tellings off, he didn’t put all his effort in. But better skin. This term we pushed and pushed him. Excellent behaviour, grades etc, but bad skin. Do I think it’s related? Yes. Do I feel
    Guilty? A bit. I’m hoping to god whatever they prescribe works. The last Ines he had gave him chest pains and made him sun himself in football. Your update has made me feel positive. X

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    • Sorry typos – can’t see this small!!

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    • Fingers crossed they can find a solution for him. 12 is so young to have bad skin, although it did start at 12 for my son and I. I know people say there is a link to stress, but I’ve never heard such a clear link as that before!

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  3. My son was prescribed Roaccutane, but I’ve been too afraid of the side effects to let him take the tablets (he suffers from anxiety and depression already). I hate the acne though and he will definitely be scarred which is tragic. I find it an impossible situation to know what is the right thing to do, but it IS always good to read real life stories about it working, in case I do decide to go ahead.

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    • Good luck to you and him, whatever you decide. There are a lot of potential side effects and they do have to warn you about them, but my GP (who is a skin specialist) said the link with depression is more likely to be due to the acne itself than the Roacccutane. It would have been my preference not to put my 15 year old son on it, but he really had no option. I can’t even describe how awful his skin was, it was heartbreaking to see.

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  4. I’m so glad this has worked for you both. I hope your son doesn’t have to go back on it again. It must be a relief for you that he hasn’t had to go through it in the same way as you. I hope he never does in the future and I hope it continues to hold it at bay for you.

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    • Thanks very much! I think I’ll be keeping a close eye on him for many years to come. Some people have to have another dose 5-10 years after the initial dose, which wouldn’t be too bad. I hope he doesn’t need anything sooner than that, though. X

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  5. That is great news that your skin is so clear, it is obviously working for you without any horrid side effects. Brilliant news about your son too, it is such a tricky time with hormones and skin anyway, it must have been so difficult for him when his skin was really bad

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    • Thanks very much, it’s such a relief that we’re both clear. It was really tough for my son when his skin was so bad, although he coped brilliantly. I’m watching him like a hawk and hoping he doesn’t go downhill again.

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