Acne Meds and Their Side Effects

Yesterday I discussed the dangers of Accutane but there are a lot more acne medications out there and they can do some damage as well. Not only that, like Accutane, you are not fixing the problem. The best solution (and safest!) will always be a good skin care regimen and patience. Be realistic and know that your skin will not be corrected in a week or even a month. Some get lucky and all their skin needs is good skin care products but others have hormones going crazy in their body so it will take longer to have better skin. It’s frustrating, I know. Below is some more information about other medications.

Clindamycin– Antibiotics like clindamycin can disrupt the normal bacteria in the digestive tract, allowing undesirable bacteria to overgrow. A serious problem known as pseudomembranous colitis may result and can occur while you are taking the drug or even weeks later. Make sure to watch for signs of this problem, which can become life-threatening, such as bloody diarrhea or severe diarrhea. Dries out your skin and you got to stay out of the sun.

Tretinoin (Retin-A)– This has been around for a long time and they have found that not only was it helping with acne but also wrinkles so doctors are now prescribing it to those who want to fight aging. My biggest problem with this is that most people (at least the ones I talk to) don’t seem to be properly educated on this drug. It makes you sun-sensitive so wearing SPF every single day is vital. It can also thin your skin and make you sensitive to anything you put on your face. That means it limits what you can do for your skin. Also very drying.

Adapalene (Differin)– The consensus on this one is that it is more of a starter acne med but it still has all the wonderful (sarcasm) side effects that the others have too. Other possible side effects include hives, difficulty breathing, swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat.

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Tazarotene (Tazorac)– You may experience some skin burning, warmth, stinging, tingling, itching, redness, swelling, dryness, peeling, or irritation. Why would you want to use this with those side effects??

Here is a list of things you have to avoid while on any acne medications:

Sun, Waxing, Strong Skin Care Products (each person is different)

Here is a list of things you may (most likely) experience:

Dry Skin, Sensitive Skin, Peeling or Flaking, Irritated Skin

 

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Dairy and Acne

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Accutane is Scary

There are a lot of medications on the market to “cure” acne. Some are not as bad as others but some, like Accutane (Isotretinoin), should not be taken. The side effects are scary!

The drug works for severe (cystic) acne, providing long-lasting and sometimes complete reduction of acne for 80 percent of patients. However, clear skin may be accompanied by serious side effects like Crohn’s disease (this has also been reported to cause problems long after the person has stopped taking the drug), birth defects and suicide. And, once you stop taking it, the acne may come back because you have not fixed the problem.

These are some common side effects associated with taking this medication:

  • Diminished night vision
  • Increased bone injuries due to thickened or weakened bones
  • Increased reaction to UV exposure
  • Red, cracked or sore lips
  • Nosebleeds
  • Changes in nails
  • Peeling skin
  • Unusual hair growth or loss
  • Bleeding or swollen gums
  • Fatigue
  • Voice changes
  • Headache
  • Slow healing of cuts or sores
  • Cold symptoms
  • Dry skin and eyes
  • Muscle aches

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In 2005, the FDA posted the following symptoms that can be accompanied with Accutane and should be closely watched for…

  • depression
  • suicidal tendencies
  • sadness
  • short tempers
  • anger
  • loss of social interaction
  • psychosis
  • loss of motivation
  • changes in appetite

If any of those symptoms appear, the person is advised to seek professional help immediately.

After numerous reports of negative effects and doctors started to realize the potential dangers, Roche recalled Accutane in 2009. Now, only generic brands are available (Amnesteen, Claravis and Sotret — are still available). Roche claimed they did not recall it based on safety concerns but because the market had become saturated with the generic brands (if they were still making money though…). Accutane has now been recalled in 11 other countries.

The FDA gave Accutane a pregnancy rating of X, which means it should not be taken during pregnancy because there is evidence of fetal abnormalities when it is used during pregnancy. In 2006, a strict system was put in place, called the i-PLEDGE program. The computer-based system required registration by pharmacies, doctors and patients. Within the system, negative pregnancy tests from approved labs were periodically required before medication was dispensed, prescriptions only covered 30 days at a time, and users were required to utilize two types of birth control.

Is that enough? Do you still want to take this drug? Bottom line is you have got to fix the problem by using the right skin care products. I don’t care what medication you are taking, it will not fix the problem forever. Once you stop, the acne often comes back. If it doesn’t come back, it is only because your hormones have calmed down and your skin was improving anyway. But if you talk to most people on these medications, you will find that they are on it more than once, usually several times.

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 More Acne Medications