Kelly, aged 28, says she was a candidate for the discontinued drug (it is still on the market) because she had a hysterectomy (women of child-bearing age are not prescribed) and her acne was so severe that it was painful. As well, she had a blood test and had to register in a special program (below) before Accutane was prescribed. “When I discovered that Accutane is an anti-cancer chemotherapy drug I was shocked - how could a drug this powerful be used to treat a skin condition,” asks Kelly rhetorically.
“I only took half my prescription because my eyes turned bloodshot and started to hurt,” Kelly explains.“I told my doctor and he told me to stop taking Accutane. But I should never have taken even one pill. Last month I started getting stomach pain, right under my breastbone, and then it radiated to my entire abdomen. I fluctuate between diarrhea and constipation, one or the other. The cramps are so bad I can’t eat and I’ve lost a lot of weight, which I didn’t want to lose.”
Kelly has gone to the ER twice. The first visit was futile; a doctor said she was just stressed out, ordered blood work and sent her home with meds for stress. “The second time at the ER I saw another doctor and he referred me to a gastroenterologist, who gave me some white liquid like Maalox and acid reflux pills.”
The gastroenterologist performed a stomach biopsy under anaesthesia and diagnosed Kelly with Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS). She has never had bowel problems, not so much as a stomachache. And she was in perfect health up until a few months ago.
“My dermatologist who prescribed Accutane said the only side effects, if any, would be dry skin and dry lips. I was okay with that, whatever,” says Kelly. “I have really bad acne since my hysterectomy and I tried a number of other meds but nothing worked. He told me Accutane would clear up the problem permanently. He didn’t tell me that it would also give me more serious permanent problems. I could have lived with acne, but not with this.”
READ MORE ACCUTANE LEGAL NEWS
The Accutane website states the following:
• For Women: Unless you have had your uterus and ovaries removed (total hysterectomy with oophorectomy) or have been in menopause for at least 12 months in a row, you are considered to be of child-bearing potential.
• Accutane is available only under a special program called iPLEDGE. You must be registered in the program and sign documents stating that you understand the dangers of this medication and that you agree to use birth control as required by the program.