Accutane, in my opinion, is one of the most important “wonder drugs” of the 20th century. In curing otherwise untreatable cases of acne, I have seen it literally turn around lives and careers of people that were otherwise limited or even in decline as a result of the physical and emotional stigmata of relentless scarring acne.
For accutane to “cure” acne, it must be taken at a dose of at least 1 mg/kg of body weight for approximately five months. So for example, if you weight 130 pounds, you need 60mg per day.
But... accutane has certain unpleasant short term, albeit reversible side effects. These include dry skin, chapped lips, increased muscle aches and pains after sports or workouts, and even elevations of blood levels of triglycerides, one of the fats in your blood.
These and other short-term side effects are strictly dose dependent. That means they increase with higher doses of accutane. So they are more apt to occur at a full dose of 1mg/kg than they are at a quarter mg or even a half mg/kg.
And interestingly, these lower, or “low dose” accutane treatments do a pretty good job of controlling acne and stopping even severe acne breakouts.
So why not just take low dose acutance and avoid the dose dependent side effects that occur in so many people at full dosage?
Very simply because low dose accutane controls acne, it doesn’t cure it. Actually, when you stop low dose accutane, your acne comes right back.
So low dose accutane, meaning doses less that 1mg/kg, while able to control acne, does not cure it. While there are some circumstances where low dose accutance may make sense... such as in post-menopausal women with ongoing acne breakouts... in general, teens and young adults with acne should be treated with a full dose to eradicate and cure their acne once and for all.
Like most other things in life, if you’re going to do it, you may as well do it right. And in this case, if you’re going to do it, please… do it only under the supervision of a doctor.