My Accutane Journey

I’m fed up with my face being caked with makeup 24/7, not being able to go one morning without a new pimple–I’M DONE.

In comes Accutane.

After watching my youngest sister go through six months (getting ready for her second cycle), I knew I could do it too. She was so strong through it, but knew there was an end goal. Sure our situations are different, but she gave me a confidence that I needed so I thank her for that.

Now, this wasn’t something I just decided to do whenever I saw my sister’s face improving. It was a very long, debated, and thought out decision with a lot of research done on my part. Those with cystic, nodular acne, who have had no luck with antibiotics to treat acne look to Accutane as the cure all. Accutane (isotretinoin) is a form of vitamin A that reduces the oil produced in your oil glands, and with it being such an intense drug there are multiple negative side effects that could occur if you don’t take the medicine properly and follow specific guidelines. Severe birth defects, depression, blurred vision, suicidal thoughts and/or actions, extreme dryness, joint pain, pink eye, just to name a few, are all side effects associated. It’s kind of a scary thing. Even on the spine of the pack in red, bold letters it says, “FEMALE PATIENTS DO NOT GET PREGNANT.” But knowing what you’re getting into can help ease the scare.

Absorica. Is Accutane. Is Isotretinoin. One pack.

Before you can get prescribed the medication, you must go through hoops. First you must go to a dermatologist to get registered with the iPLEDGE Program, which is regulated by the Food and Drug Administration. In fact for me, when I went into my dermatologist I was all ready registered with iPLEDGE because when I was 14 years old I was actually going to take Accutane, but backed out because my parents didn’t want me to yet. The hesitation to start back then was my bad depression, they didn’t want it to get worse than it was. So, even now while on Accutane I’m being closely monitored by doctors, family and friends. Step one was complete before I even walked through the door, and I didn’t even know it.

Now, the most important part or step, is that you must be on two different types of birth control regimens for the entirety of the program. So a week after my first dermatologist appointment, I had an appointment with my primary care physician so I could get on a birth control pill. My regimen: method one-the pill, method two-condoms.

Then, as the final step to start I had to take a “registration,” or preliminary, blood test to show that I’m not pregnant and my blood is okay to treat.

Once all that was complete my doctor gave me the go ahead, and now every month I’m responsible for certain processes to be done in order for me to get my monthly Accutane prescription.

Still with me? Alrighty. I know it’s a lot.

I’ve been accepted into the program, and now each month operates like this. Take a blood test, and go to my dermatologist for a check up. After my appointment, the doctor goes into the iPLEDGE program and gives me consent to answer a handful of questions with iPLEDGE online. After I’ve finished that I’m able to obtain my prescription. This all has to be done within a timely matter or else you can’t get your prescription. It’s quite a process, but it’ll be worth it.

The program is very time sensitive—based on a 7 day time period from when you can go to the doctor for your check up, and go online to answer the iPLEDGE questions to get the monthly medication from the pharmacy. Tip: plan months ahead for big events or holidays where travel is involved so you can time it out right.

Here’s what I noticed thus far:

  • Dryness. I’ve been using Aquaphor for my lips, and Amlactin for my face. My lips are cracked and sometimes they get bloody, but it’s the Aquaphor puts that to rest.
  • More pimples. I was told, and I’ve read that my face would get worse before it gets better. Like pimples on top of pimples. It sucks honestly.


Day 1

Day 10

Day 20

Day 30

Bring it on. I got this!