Monday, February 24, 2014

Some Facts About Prescription Drugs for Acne.....

Let me be clear, this information is well known, you can look it up yourself.

Recently I was talking to a 13 year old girl who informed me that she was recently put on Accutane, a well known prescriptive drug used to treat acne.  She is 13 and with moderate acne, nothing that comes close to needing such a strong drug.  

Some things you should know right off the bat about Accutane.  It is a form of Vitamin A and reduces oil gland production as well as speeds up cell turnover, sounds good right?  Well it is, if it is being used for the right reasons.

Some other things you should know.  YOU MUST BE ON 2 FORMS OF BIRTH CONTROL before you can start using it.  Seriously.  You cannot get pregnant for 5 years AFTER taking it.  5 flippin years!!!!  So say you get treated for acne at 23 and you take Accutane until you are 25, you have to wait until you are 30 BEFORE you can even consider kids.  Have fun with that.

You also need to know that some of the side effects are scarier than acne is.  Such as, depression, thoughts of suicide, insomnia, hallucinations, mood swings, heart problems, seizures, bowel issues including bleeding, rashes, dry lips and skin to the point of cracking and bleeding, and dizziness and vomiting.  Not to mention birth defects if you choose to ignore the warnings about birth control.

The scary part about all this?  It is one of many drugs that are dangerous and are often given to teens for moderate to severe acne.  It is mainly supposed to be used for cystic acne.  See the grades below to see what cystic acne is.

There are 4 grades of acne.

Grade 1:  Light acne, usually caused by hormonal fluctuations or bad skin care products & habits.  This is usually a pimple here or there and nothing cystic.  This is not Accutane worthy.

Grade 2:  Moderate acne that you see blackheads and pustules (white heads) with.  You also might see millia, which is white pearl like pimples that you can't break.  They need to be extracted by a Dermatologist or Estee, depending on your state laws.  Not Accutane worthy.

Grade 3:  Severe acne which is usually inflamed and is on other parts of the body like the chest and back.  This you see your Dr. for and he usually prescribes a topical.  Very rarely do you get Accutane.

Grade 4:  Cystic acne.  It is the acne under the skin and is incredibly painful.  Usually all over the face, back, and chest.  This is where Accutane helps a great deal.

Don't get me wrong, using strong drugs the right way, does help you control certain things.  But here is another interesting fact.  I talked to my Dermatologist and he told me that 60% of his revenue comes from prescription drugs.  No joke.  Selling products and seeing patients is great, but getting the patient to take a prescription and having it filled lines his pockets.

Most doctors are ethical about this, and by no means is this a slam on them, but look at the money they get for putting you on drugs.  I actually looked into this for other drugs too and it turns out this is a common practice around the medical community.  So next time you go fill that prescription you might want to ask yourself if there is a safer, organic, less addictive, less make you crazy alternative.  

I think it is time to start talking to your doctors about healthy alternatives.  Not just for skin care, but health as well.


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