I'm Worried about Taking Oral Acne Medications

Woman taking a pill
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Your dermatologist has suggested that you use an oral acne medication to get your acne under control.  But, honestly, the thought of using an oral acne medication makes you nervous. 

Of course you want your acne to clear up, you would just rather not use an oral medication to do it.  Now, you’re not sure what to do.

Nobody is ever super excited about the prospect of taking an oral acne medication.  In many cases, oral medications really are the best bet for clearing the skin.

  Still, some people find themselves a bit uneasy about the prospect of using them.    

You’re Worried about Side Effects   

Understandably, side effects are a big concern.  All oral medications come with the possibility of side effects, so it’s smart to educate yourself before your start any medication.    

The best thing to do in this case is learn all you can about the medication.  Talk with your dermatologist.  Ask about the possible side effects.  Remember, not everyone will experience every side effect listed.    

Although your dermatologist can’t predict exactly how you’ll react to any medication, he/she has a lot of experience in this area.  Your derm can give you a pretty good idea of what to expect from the medication he or she is recommending.

Ask your dermatologist if they have any literature you can take home to study.  You might want to get the prescribing information for the medication and look over that, too.

 

Just be aware, though, that in the prescribing information is listed every possible side effect, no matter how rare or unlikely, so it can make the medication seem a lot more scary than it actually is.

Once you have a clear understanding of the possible side effects, you may find that the medication isn’t as worrisome as you first thought and decide that you can live with them.

You Wonder If an Oral Medication Is Really Necessary

Sometimes acne can be treated with topical acne treatments.  But when acne is severe, or when topical treatments have been tried without much success, oral medications will most likely give you better results. 

In some cases, both topical and oral medications are needed to get acne breakouts under control.  There really is no one-size-fits-all treatment plan for acne.

If you’re wondering if an oral acne medication is really the best treatment choice for you, talk with your dermatologist.  Ask why he or she is suggesting an oral medication.  Ask if you’ve exhausted your topical treatment options.  If you’re still unsure, get a second opinion.   

You Don’t Like Using Oral Medications, Period

Some people simply don’t like using oral medications at all. They don’t like the thought of putting medications into their bodies. 

If this sounds like you, weigh the pros and cons of taking this medication.  Are you willing to use an oral medication in order to get your acne under control?

  Are you satisfied enough with the results you’re getting with topical treatments to forgo using an oral medication?

Take a bit of time to thoughtfully come to your decision. Weigh the pros and cons. Talk with your dermatologist.  Research the medication. 

Remember, though, severe acne (or cystic acne) generally responds best to oral medications.  Topical treatments aren’t as successful with serious or stubborn cases of acne, so you’ll want to take that into account when making your decision.

Also remember that the more severe your acne is, the higher your chances are for developing acne scars

The choice to take an oral acne medication is ultimately yours.  Educating yourself will help you make an informed decision, one way or the other.

Sources:

Botros PA, Tsai G, Pujalte GG. Evolution and management of acne.  Prim Care. (2015, Dec) 42(4):465-71.

Lavers I. (2013, Dec). Therapeutic strategies for acne vulgaris. Nurs Times. 109(48):16-18.

United States. NIAMS. "Questions and Answers About Acne." Bethesda, MD: National Institutes of Health, 2006.

Zouboulis, C. C., & Bettoli, V. (2015, July). Management of severe acne. Br J Dermatol, 172, Suppl 1:27-36.

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