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Chia
VIP
from Singapore asked a question

Can I stop taking Roaccutane early if my acne has cleared up?

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Acne & Scars

I've been prescribed Roaccutane (10mg) for my acne for about 4 months now. I'm taking it 3 times a week, and have been wondering if it's okay to stop taking it as the doctor consultation and medication is quite expensive. My face is pretty much cleared up, less the tiny bumps.

DOCTOR’S ANSWER (5)

This is not an easy question to answer because there are a lot of factors that a doctor will need to to consider before starting or stopping Roaccutane. The best person to ask would be the doctor who has been treating you and following you up because he or she knows your condition best.

In my opinion, it is not ideal to stop it immediately. You may want to continue on a low dose for a period of time as a maintenance. This is to avoid a rebound acne breakout, which can happen if one stops taking Roaccutane suddenly.

In summary, 

1) Give your doctor/clinic a call to arrange an appointment to see your doctor

2) Explain your concern - medication is expensive

3) Let your doctor assess your condition and advise you further. There may be alternatives that your doctor can recommend

Consult Doctor
0 910 views 0 Doctors agree 14 Mar 2018

Hello Chia,

Prescription of Roaccutane (Isotretinoin) is based on your weight. The target dose in the treatment of inflammed acne (especially severe, pus filled acne) is 120mg/kg.
 
While it is tempting to stop isotretinoin use once your acne has cleared up, hitting this target dose will reduce the chance of a relapse in future.
 
For example if you are 60kg, you will need to completed 7200mg of isotretinoin. Depending on the dose that you are taking daily, the treatment duration will vary.
 
Most patients are able to tolerate a dose of 20-30mg/day. We will titrate the dose according to the side effects that you experience. It is also good practice to monitor your blood cholesterol and liver function test as there are rare instances that these parameters may be affected with treatment.
 
Hope this answers your question
Consult Doctor
0 876 views 0 Doctors agree 16 Mar 2018

I wouldn't rush to stop Roaccutane.

From my experience with patients, I prefer to tail them down over a period of 6-8 months until it's about once a week before I stop it.

I find that this helps to stabilise them for a longer period of time.

Prior to starting on Roaccutane, I think that it's always useful for patients to discuss the long term plan for the Roaccutane course with their doctors to get a good gauge of what his/her experience will lead him to prescribe.

Hope your acne stays away!

Consult Doctor
0 930 views 0 Doctors agree 13 Mar 2018

Hello Chia

Thank you for your question. Roaccutane treatment is usually tailored and the treatment dose and duration are determined by a few factors - patient weight/ acne severity/ response to treatment/ side effects from treatment.

Some doctors prefer to achieve a total cumulative dose of 120mg/kg as it may reduce the risk of acne relapse. This will take months to years in some cases. Other doctors may have a different approach that is unrelated to body weight. You should speak to your doctor first before deciding. 

Good to hear that your acne is clearing up! All the best. 

Regards,

Consult Doctor
0 924 views 0 Doctors agree 13 Mar 2018

Hi Chia, great to hear that your face has cleared up! However, I personally I wouldn't stop Roaccutane prematurely before you have completed the course.

As Dr Jiwei has mentioned, there is a target dosage of 120mg/kg to "hit" in order to complete the regimen.

Studies have shown it is the total cumulative dosage that affects whether your acne returns. Dr Justin's suggested follow-up for you is perfect. :-)

Cheers

Consult Doctor
0 904 views 0 Doctors agree 14 Mar 2018
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