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antibiotics for 4 years, accutane, and spironolactone
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This forum is for questions regarding Dermatology issues, such as: rashes, acne, birthmarks, skin infections, rosacea, and general skin care. All questions will be answered by a medical professional.

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antibiotics for 4 years, accutane, and spironolactone

I've had bad acne, not cystic, for 4-5 years now and have been through several antibiotics for 4 years.  Minocin is what I am on now and it works pretty well, but I still get a few pimples, and I still get acne on my back and chest.  I also use the topical medications benzamycin and retin A. If this doesn't work, spironolactone and then accutane are the only things left for me.  I have a few questions.  First, when is my acne going to go away?  I'm a 19 year old female and I've had it almost 5 years.  Second, isn't taking antibiotics this long bad for my immune system?  Also, I have experienced hair loss ever since I got acne, and I read that spironolactone can help with people who have hair loss and acne.  I've lost half of the volume of the hair I used to have and I've been tested for thyroid problems and my thyroid is normal.  Do you think spironolactone could help me?  Finally, accutane has been presented as an option by my dermatologist as an option if these other things don't work.  I'm really hesitant to use accutane because it seems so dangerous with all of the side affects.  Isn't accutane supposed to be used for cystic acne?  I do not have cystic ance, and I fear that accutane may be to harsh for me.  Also, won't accutane just agravate my hair loss?  I'm just so frustrated with all these skin problems!  When I first went to a dermatologist I was put on minocin and I took it for about a year and a half and it worked really well, but when I stopped taking it, it all came back.  Will antibotics ever actually cure my acne?  Thank you so much for taking the time to answer my question.  Acne has really been an emotional rollercoaster for me.
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Taking antibiotics for a long time is not necessarily bad for your system, so that's one option if it's working.

I have little experience with spironoloctone, so I can't tell you mucy about effectiveness or side-effects.  I doubt that it would grow much hair.

Accutane is not a dangerous drug when taken properly.  Hair loss is quite rare, and reversible.  It can be used even for noncystic acne if the condition won't quit and is extensive.  Side-effects are few and mostly annoying (such as dry lips.)

Since acne can go on till 25 or 30, and Accutane has the best chance of giving you a long-term or even indefinite remission, I think you should look into it seriously.

Take care.

Dr. Rockoff
5 Comments
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Avatar_n_tn
I'm not a doctor, but I can tell you a thing or two regarding your questions since I've used all those medications personally. Aldactone didn't clear up my acne. It helped only a little bit.

I also started losing eye lashes because I was on antibitics for so long.  Also, any time I go back on it my eye lashes fall out and when I stop them, the eye lashes stop falling out.  I don't understand how doctors say long term antibiotics doesn't do any harm.


I honestly do not believe in taking antibiotics long term.  Even though my hair is not bad right now, it did make a difference in my hair.  My hair became much more fine and less of it all around, in addition to eye lashes.


Regarding accutane, if you're concerned about hair loss I would seriously stay away from it.  I took it and even though it didn't make a huge difference in my hair, it did for my cousin.  You can see her scalp in front after use of Accutane.  Now she's trying to reverse it by going to different doctors.

Accutane cleared up my acne for about 1 year after I took it, but they returned.


What seems to help me is taking zinc, drinking lots of water and one ounce of wheat grass every day.  When I go off them my face gets much worse.  Also, try Murad's clarifying cleanser.  It's the best cleanser I've ever tried and believe me I've tried many. Retin-A Micro works great for me as well.

Please consider your health while going on medications.  Do lots of research.  Talk to people and see what their experiences has been.

Best of luck to you.
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Avatar_n_tn
Hi.  I'm not a doctor either but I do understand the anxiety you feel about acne.  I'm 37 now, and my acne is gone, but at your age and into my 20s, I had cystic acne.  Tetracycline worked, but I, too, worried about long-term antibiotic use.  The PROACTIVE system worked miracles for me.  No kidding!  A cleanser, moisturizer (even if you're oily you need to moisturize with the right product), and the blemish cream.  In about three days, my face started to clear up, and with regular use, it stayed totally clear.  Honest to goodness.  You can buy it on QVC and I think Proactive has their own website.  I hope it works for you as well as it did for me!  Take care.
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Avatar_n_tn
I didn't catch whether the original poster was female or male, if they are female, their questions sounds very familiar to me.

I started developing acne, cystic acne, when I was 8 years old and started puberty very early.  For 10 years, it was controlled as best could be with oral antibiotics and topical medications.  

When I turned 18, I went through a course of Accutane, I got fair results, the large cystic acne never came back, but I had moderate acne to varying degrees until my late 20's.

At age 28, I was diagnosed with PCOS, Polycystic Ovary Syndrome, and one of the components of this syndrome can be elevated testosterone levels.  I started treatment with Spironolactone, and my skin has been completely clear ever since.  Even tiny blemishes are rare now.

The improvement has been nothing short of amazing.  I use no acne treatment products now, nor have I for the past 4 years.  I follow a normal skincare routine, and the acne problem seems to finally be resolved for good.

If you are female, it is certainly something to ask a doctor about, PCOS is generally treated by an endocrinologist, and persistant acne is a known symptom of the syndrome.  After 20 years of only moderate success with various acne treatments, I would have never in my wildest dreams believed that it would have been as simple to resolve as taking a pill every day to normalize and regulate my testosterone levels.

It is not just the acne that has improved, my whole skin texture has changed.  Smaller less visible pores, more even skin tone, and softer finer overall skin texture.

Hope this insight helps,
Tracy



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