It doesn’t take long for Accutane to take its toll. Cindy took the med in high school but stopped after three months. “I was getting bad headaches and muscle pain, and because I wasn’t taking any other meds and never had these symptoms before, it wasn’t hard connecting Accutane,” she says.
Cindy stayed off Accutane for 18 months, until her acne flared up again. With the next prescription, Cindy, who was of childbearing age, was registered by her dermatologist in the iPLEDGE program because of Accutane’s link to birth defects. “I also had blood tests every month, possibly to make sure I wasn’t pregnant. It was so hard to finish the six-month treatment because it was hard to focus and my whole body was aching,” Cindy explains.
Her dermatologist also asked Cindy if she ever felt depressed - one doctor who had actually read Accutane’s contraindications. Cindy said she would sometimes cry for no apparent reason, but what teenager hasn’t? In Chris’s case, it was more than crying.
“Just three months into taking Accutane (about 10 years ago), I started getting episodes of dread,” says Chris, 30 years old. I asked my doctor to come off it but he advised that I finish the treatment. I didn’t think much more about the consequences of Accutane side effects but my attitude sure has changed.
READ MORE ACCUTANE IBD LEGAL NEWS
We all know that “one man’s ceiling is another man’s floor.” In other words, one drug can have differing affects on people. Chris doesn’t have any problems with digestion. Cindy never had any psychological issues, unless you want to count guilt: she feels badly that her mother spent so much money on Accutane and her mother feels guilty insisting Cindy keep taking the med.
“I didn’t have insurance so Accutane was expensive,” says Cindy. “It cost my mother about $500 per month for me to have good skin. She told me to stay on Accutane even though I didn’t like how I felt, but at the time we weren’t aware of the side effects. If so, my mother would have chucked Accutane down the toilet.”