On DermTV you’ve heard me discuss how Accutane actually and finally cures acne and I’ve even described it as one of the miracle drugs of the 20th century. I get a lot of questions from viewers asking whether it’s appropriate for them to be treated with Accutane. So today I’m going to explain when its time to be treated with Accutane.
When Accutane first came out 30 years ago, the specific indications for its use according to its FDA approval was for “severe, scarring, cystic acne unresponsive to multiple different antibiotics”. While those are still the “official” criteria for Accutane’s use, let me tell you my interpretation and my recommendations.
In my opinion, it’s time to use Accutane when inflammatory acne, meaning pimples, pus pimples and cystic acne… when they don’t respond to topical or internal treatments after a few months. Internal treatments means either antibiotics, or birth control pills for females, or even a combination of the two. So if you’ve been on one or two antibiotics, each for a month or more, and they haven’t helped, or if you’ve tried one or two of the birth control pills that are usually helpful for acne and despite that you still have inflammatory acne… then in my opinion, it’s time to use Accutane.
In terms of the original criteria of scarring acne, I think scarring can be not only physical but emotional as well. The emotional impact of acne… the lowered self-esteem, the anxiety, depression and the resulting impaired quality of life accompanying acne… I believe can all have a long lasting impact and in fact is the emotional counterpart to scarring. So whether or not your acne leaves physical scars on your skin, if it’s persistence constitutes a meaningful compromise of your emotional well being, then in my opinion that’s a quality of life issue justifying consulting a dermatologist regarding the use of Accutane.
Accutane cures acne.