Okay, I need this medicine call Accutane. I NEED it. It's for severe acne and it hurts like hell. Now my insurance will not cover it; tons of money. I'm so pissed because now I just have to "deal with it", how is this fair? Now only rich people with gross acne can get rid of it? I want to do something about this because I don't even go out anymore because I'm so embarassed; I bet if I had Cancer they'd just let me die!!!! Ugh, is there anything I can do to get this? My family has barely any money.
Posts: 32 | From: Roanoke, VA | Registered: Jul 2003
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No, you don't NEED it, any more than people whose eyes don't look like Barbie's need plastic surgery, or than someone who's going grey needs Miss Clairol. Acne is upsetting, yes, but there are other ways to treat it, and it's not life threatening. What's more, Accutane has been known to cause despression, psychosis, and even suicide. Your parents are doing what's right for you by not putting you on it. At this point, if conventional therapies haven't worked, you might want to see a naturopath, but you certainly don't want to be equating acne with cancer.
------------------ Milke, with an L, Mrs BD to you, RATS, TMNTP, MF, CWCD, WAOTA
Wow. You are so wrong... I do too need this. You wouldn't understand, obviously. I said it hurts really bad. I wake up and it feels like I've been beaten up, and I'm not exaggerating. It's not like gray hair, all they have to do is but a bottle of dye. I wish I could do that.
Yeah, yeah. I know about the side effects. I've tried EVERYTHING. Every single thing they have to offer. I've had it for six years, and I'd rather be depressed than have this curse.
[This message has been edited by paradijs (edited 12-24-2003).]
Has your doctor told you this is your only hope of alleviating this problem? If not you're going to want to ask about your other, more practical, options. Seeing a naturopath, as Milke suggested, is also an excellent alternative to taking expensive, side-effect riddled medications.
------------------ "Don't you know about the new fashion, honey? All you need are looks and a whole lot of money." -- Billy Joel, "It's Still Rock and Roll to Me"
It might also be advisable for your doctor to discuss the matter with your parents -- you can ask him or her to do that. In addition, if according to your doctor it is a need, rather than an elective medication, your insurance can also be petitioned to include it or a substitute medication, though your company may not cover it due to the legal risks of the medication on their end.
If you have painful, cystic acne and that is the only treatment he or she feels will help, then have that be communicated to your parents. However, understand that it may also be a matter of finances: it's possible they simply can't afford it, and that's a viable issue. There are plenty of us in the US who don't have insurance nor anyone else to pay for medications -- so sometimes that means finding inexpensive alternatives or working extra to afford them. That's simply an unfortunate aspect of living in a country without socialized medicine. If it's important to you and IS elective, perhaps you might consider a part-time job to pay for the medication.
Edited to add: it's also worth noting that the possible side effects you're tossing off aren't tiny, and that at present, there are scores of grassroots legal groups filing suits against the makers of the medication because those side effects have been just that serious for many, many people. While we all suffer differently due to different things, it is more than safe to say that chronic depression, serious psychiatric disorders, uncontrollable bowel problems and being suicidal ARE all FAR more difficult to cope with than acne, even painful acne (and get them WITH the acne still intact, imagine how you might be feeling). And far more difficult to treat. If you refuse to acknowledge that, you're not being very realistic. It's highly unusual for patients to have to sign an informed consent clause with medications, especially simple skin medications, and this is required with Accutane because the side effects have been record-high and the company knows it's being sued a lot.
If you have very severe and painful acne (e.g. cystic acne), then I understand that it's likely to be frustrating if you're being told you can't get Accutane for financial reasons.
However, here are some things to consider (and I'm speaking as someone who has had severe, treatment-resistant acne for years, so I do understand):
Milke is right - you don't NEED Accutane. Acne is not life-threatening (even though it may feel that way to you). It's not cancer. It's also a pretty common human affliction; I know it can be embarrassing, but it doesn't have to stop you from going out unless you let it.
You've written in various posts in the past about being very depressed and having problems with anorexia and self-loathing. All of those can be associated with obsessing about and being revolted by any physical "imperfection" (a.k.a. body dysmorphia). It can be easy to imagine that if only you were able to "fix" your appearance, all your other problems would go away. But it doesn't work like that.
Accutane can be very effective, but it can also have very severe side-effects, as has already been mentioned (severe to the point where some people feel it should be withdrawn from the market). And sometimes, it isn't effective; in my case, it worked fine while I was on a course of Accutane, but then my acne returned immediately as soon as I came off it. Total cost: huge. Total long-term benefits: zilch.
And it isn't the only option for treating acne, even cystic acne. As well as all the conventional options (benzoyl peroxide, azelaic acid, topical antibiotics, oral antibiotics, alpha or beta hydroxy acids, birth control pills, etc.), alternative medicine can sometimes be very helpful.
In my case, a combined benzoyl-peroxide-and tea-tree-oil gel turned out to work wonders where the Accutane didn't.
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