After 11 years of trying countless antibiotics and topical creams, I finally took the plunge to opt for roaccutane.
I had seen my GP for the past 11 years for acne treatments, and I have been on 3 different antibiotics, 2 different types of contraceptive pill, and have been prescribed 2 different topical creams. All of which had little to no effect on my acne, and, if there was any effects, these were short-lived. I had even seen a private dermatologist on Harley Street in London regarding my acne. She advised me at this stage, where all topical treatments had been exhausted, the most reasonable and effective option would be roaccutane.
6 months ago I plucked up the courage to see my GP so that I could get a referral to a dermatologist at the hospital to review my case for roaccutane. Seeing as I had been going to the same GP for my acne for 11 years, it was no issue getting a referral. The problem with the NHS right now is that wait times for dermatological referrals are 3 months. I am of course willing to wait.
My first appointment was very pleasant, the dermatologist was careful in explaining common and uncommon side effects to me, but also explained that I would be a perfect candidate for roaccutane, and that in her professional opinion, this could really work for me.
So you know what you’re getting into, these were the key side effects I was told about:
- Changes in mood
- Dry skin
- Dry lips; cracking of lips
- Cholesterol increase (rare)
- Liver damage (rare)
- Aching muscles (uncommon)
- Thinning hair (uncommon)
During the inevitable generic medical questions, I was asked about my allergies, one of which being peanuts – not a big deal right? The dermatologist furrowed her brows and frowned, she explained she needed to call the pharmacy.
The problem with having a peanut allergy and going on roaccutane is that many brands use either peanut oil OR soya oil in their medication. Even though I know I am not allergic to soya, people who have a peanut allergy can be allergic to soya, so from a doctor’s perspective, this is a huge risk. Therefore, between this appointment and my appointment in 3 months, the dermatologist was going to check if the hospitals pharmacy stocked roaccutane that did not contain peanut oil.
In my most recent appointment, now with a different dermatologist, she explained that the brand the hospital supplies only contains soya oil (yay!), but it was too risky to prescribe this to me, because you know, who knows if I will go into anaphylaxis or not?
I was invited in for a centre that is open most weekdays where people are put on drips. Here, a canular was put in, as well as blood tests being taken and pregnancy tests. I was administered 3 different doses of roaccutane at half hour intervals and monitored to see if I had any reactions. If I did, there was resuscitation at hand.
In order to be put onto roaccutane, you are requred to:
- Take a blood test to test your cholesterol and liver
- Take a pregnancy test – you cannot be pregnant and on roaccutane, and you cannot get pregnant either. You have to sign an agreement which states that if you do fall pregnant, you must get a termination.
- For the above reason, you must be on a form of contraceptive birth control 1 month beforehand.
Whilst you are on roaccutane, you will need to take a pregnancy every month in order to be issued roaccutane, and your cholesterol and liver health will also be tested and monitored.
So, in the end, I (thankfully) was not allergic to the soya oil in the capsule (yay!), and this means that I have now been on roaccutane for 5 days. One thing to note, if you are a peanut allergy sufferer and you eat soya products, it is always beneficial to be precautious and make sure you can take this with your allergy.
I am predicted to be on this medication for 6 months. During this time, I will be monitoring my progress weekly on here and on my instagram, and I will keep you updated as to any side effects that I may experience.
I’ll see you soon!