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Accutane Almost Sidelined Promising Golf Career

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Orlando, FLHe was a golf phenom who had all the makings of a superstar in the mold of Tiger Woods. He was so good that Christo Greyling's parents pulled up stakes and moved to the US from South Africa to further his prospects. Initially, the move to the Sunshine State proved a wise decision. And then Christo, age 17 at the time, discovered Accutane. Almost immediately, his golf game was blindsided by Accutane side effects.

The young golfer never appeared to be affected by Accutane Ulcerative Colitis, as many patients taking the acne medication (and no longer available in the US) can attest. However, Accutane has also been linked to depression and suicide. People close to Greyling noted that his confidence and poise were nowhere near to where they once were.

It was practically an overnight event, according to the June 12 edition of the Augusta Chronicle.

Greyling's coach lamented the change. "Of all the kids I've recruited over the years, he was as good as any kid I've ever seen in my 15 years of coaching," said Chris Haack, in comments published in the Chronicle. "The world of golf is littered with guys who were so ultra-talented who somehow lost it."

And he lost it—at least for a time—to the Accutane drug, which Greyling started taking in the fall of 2000 for persistent acne.

"[Greyling] was already going sideways," Haack said. "He shot like 86 and withdrew and didn't feel right. Didn't see him again until February at the Jones Cup at Sea Island and he shot like 90-something. Even the guys on the team who knew him as a junior golfer, like Ryan Hybl and Eric Compton, they were calling me up and saying 'Something's not right with Christo.'"

Luckily, Haack had read something about the link between Accutane and teen depression. Greyling himself noted that his normally gregarious personality had gone south and he was left feeling "whacked out" within weeks of starting the Accutane acne medication.

Haack reported his findings to Greyling's father Iaan, who promptly saw that his son deep-sixed the Accutane. According to the account, Greyling's strength soon returned—but it would be years before his "A" game would follow suit.

There's a bittersweet ending to this Accutane side effects story. This past June, Greyling, at 28, qualified for the prestigious US Open. His father, however, did not live to see the day. Iaan Greyling reportedly took his own life in 2009 over financial pressures fuelled by the economic downturn.

While Accutane is still available in generic form (and sold as Accutane in Canada), the makers of Accutane voluntarily pulled the drug from the US market reportedly due to the increasing prevalence of Accutane lawsuits from patients alleging Accutane inflammatory bowel disease, amongst other Accutane side effects.

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