ZocdocAnswersWhen should one start considering Acutane?

Question

When should one start considering Acutane?

When should a person consider Acutane? I've have had severe acne for my entire adult life, and I have basically run out of over the counter treatment options (nothing worked). Is now the right time to look at prescription medications, or is there still a possibility I can beat it without the side-effects of Acutane?

Answer

Let me start off by saying that you should not be battling with acne for years without escalating treatment. If lesser over-the-counter medicines have not worked yet, they likely won't work in the long run. Generally acne is treated with the mildest agents first with stronger ones added if the mild ones fail. Eventually, if you've failed them all, then Acutane may be right for you. Here are some prescription and non-prescription meds you should try before trying Acutane. 1. Benzoyl Peroxide - helps clear pores and acts as an antibiotic 2. Antibiotics - such as doxycycline can be taken orally or placed topically 3. Topical Retinoids - work in a similar way as Acutane but without nearly the results. 4. Oral Retinoids - Last line treatment, works very well in treatment resistant acne. Female patients need to use 2 forms of birth control to prevent pregnancy. If you are female, certain oral contraceptives have been shown to help as well. My advise is to present to your primary care physician ask what additional medicines you should try before referral to a dermatologist. A consult with a dermatologist will give you information on all the possible options including those other than the oral retinoids. From there, you can get advise on what the next best step is.

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