August 13, 2005

Accutane and Testosterone

"F.D.A. Imposes Tougher Rules for Acne Drug" reports the NYT. That reminds me of a a fascinating account by a reader of what it's like to accidentally undergo changes in your testosterone level. To avoid being sued by the makers of Accutane, let me point out that his reaction was probably quite idiosyncratic.

"Your article "The Manly Molecule" and Andrew Sullivan's to which you refer have illuminated a time in my life which you may find interesting, and possibly even useful for your sons.

"Since the later stages of puberty, I have known that I am more sexed, more aggressive, more muscular, more energetic, and more plagued by acne than my peers. Being naturally curious and an avid reader, when I was eighteen I realized (admittedly proudly) that these are all manifestations of high testosterone levels. When I left my home to start college, the gulf between the average male and me became more apparent, as at home I had two sisters, in the dorm I was living in close proximity with a cross section of other males.

"When I was a junior in college, I got over my stoicism and denial about my acne problem and angrily confronted my dermatologist with the total failure of every nostrum he had given me and demanded the Weapon of Mass Destruction of acne - Accutane!

"From the beginning, two things about Accutane's effects were quite noticeable: 1) The stuff worked like crazy - the acne never stood a chance. 2) All of those other testosterone related characteristics greatly diminished. I quickly noticed that sitting still to study in my room in my fraternity was much easier. Before Accutane, the faint happy cheering and howling (especially the female voices) of the inevitable nearby Greek Row party would usually propel me in search of girls. On Accutane I could convince myself to ignore it and study (I was still somewhat prone to distraction, but much less so by thoughts of women). I would no longer glower at guys from rival fraternities, or spend an entire afternoon playing half court basketball, or get antsy at 10 pm and go run five miles. I found I was more pensive and introspective, even wistful, and became occasionally interested in mirror gazing. My sex drive mellowed. Others noticed, too. My mother told me later that my shoulders became slighter, the features of my face had become more delicate and refined and remarked on the personality changes, too.

"At the time, I rationalized these side effects by deciding that they were simply psychological, i.e. my earlier, more intense ways were an outgrowth of my deep frustration with acne and that removing the source of the frustration eliminated the intensity and aggression. And if I was wrong, well, it was a bargain I was willing to make. Even more interestingly, part of me welcomed these changes. For one thing, my grades improved.

"I quit taking Accutane about the time I graduated after a successful 12 month regimen. Although I can't remember any sudden behavior change, my memory of the subsequent years includes a mostly continual (and occasionally even successful) pursuit of sex, some nearly violent confrontations with other men, deep thinking about the feasibility of armed revolution (this was during the post Ruby Ridge and Waco years – pretty embarrassing) plus a lot of other high-T political thinking, and consistent defiance of my boss at my physically demanding, rugged, outdoors job. Cleary the side effects were temporary, which, come to think of it, seems unfortunate in some respects.

"So what happened? The side effects that I experienced are precisely the symptoms of reduced testosterone. Accutane isn't known to cause such an effect, but given the fact that medical science still doesn't completely understand how Accutane works, perhaps there is something related going on here. There has been a steady drumbeat of anecdotal evidence connecting Accutane with depression and suicide - given the connection between a lack of Testosterone and depression, my experience has convinced me that for some patients there is a testosterone related side effect that needs to be investigated.

"Here's something interesting: even though before and after Accutane I reveled in my apparent abundance of the Big T, while I was on it, I could not be roused to do anything to restore that abundance. I was quite happy to be without it. This has given me some insight into something that has puzzled me: why are eunuch harem guards loyal? The most crucial attribute of any despot's palace guard is loyalty to the despot, so why would he arm and place into a sensitive job someone whom he had castrated? Wouldn't such grievous harm create a burning hatred and motive for revenge on the part of the eunuch? My experience with apparently reduced testosterone suggests that a eunuch might well appreciate his calmer status and in any case probably couldn't muster a burning hatred about anything anyway.

"I don't know if your sons are teenagers or if either has acne, but if so, and if he is considering Accutane, I hope that he and you would appreciate the leap into the unknown that Accutane represents. There are topical remedies, including the one I currently use (ProActiv solution) that work pretty well for most. At least wait until he has fully grown and his brain has stopped developing."


My published articles are archived at iSteve.com -- Steve Sailer

19 comments:

Kathy said...

Steve I noticed your article on Accutane. I have a son that is 18 1/2 and he has given up on everything. I took him to an immunologist to figure out what is going on. The doctors all say he has a low level of testosterone. I feel for him because he needs to get back to normal. The doctors said to wait but the level of 190 is low and he doesn't feel like he should. He was on accutane for 1 yr when he was 16 1/2. It worked on his face but was it worth it. What should i do?

sandy said...

Isotretinoin (the generic name for accutane) is used to treat the most severe and disfiguring cases of nodular acne. Most Doctors would only recommend this treatment only after all other forms of acne medication have been tried and proved unsuccessful.

Serious Accutane Side Effects
1. Birth Defects
2. Psychiatric Diseases, Depression and Suicide
3. Central Nervous System Ailments
4. Liver Damage
5. Hearing/Vision Problems
6. Accutane Pancreatic Damage

More detailed info on this page:
http://www.accutane-info.com/side-effects.php

Information on the development, history and legacy of Accutane.
http://www.accutane-info.com

linebacker789 said...

I am currently 18 years old(19 in August). I took accutane for 8 months, and quit about 6 months ago. Prior to accutane, my testosterone was anywhere between 200 to 300. Since then, several blood and salivary tests have shown my testosterone between 50 and 70. Accutane is the only possible reason for this considering it was literally the only change in my ruitine. The lost testosterone has serriously compromised my football performance and muscle growth. Why did I react this way to accutane, and will my natural testosterone come back eventually?

Testosterone said...

Interesting study , which makes sense since acne goes hand in hand with risen testosterone levels. There are other ways of getting rid of acne , I agree with what sandy says , accutane is only recommended for people with the most critical acne problems.

Mr. D said...

I suggest taking a test booster for all of you out there that have testosterone problems- Novedex Xt is amazing and will increase your testosterone...I myself am about to go on accutane and already am prepared for the loss (if any) of test because im upping my levels up now before I start. Bottom line is...having low test isnt a problem because there are natural boosters that do work and will help you. Having too much testosterone is the reason why I have cystic acne I believe- dont feel like your doomed if your test levels fall- 6-oxo, Novedex XT, Vitrix- these are all types of natural test boosters that should and will help you. Hopefully everything works out for you guys- wish me luck!

Brady said...

It is absolutely true. I can not believe this is not mentioned in any of the literature about accutane. I took accutane when I was 16 to get rid of my acne. It worked like a charm. I am 22 now and have had no further acne problems. However, I have always known that the drug had to have some effect on my testosterone level. My entire personality changed. I used to be very aggressive. Although I never played any sports for the school, I would always get the football in games in PE because I was virtually impossible to tackle. I could carry 3 or 4 guys on my back without going down. Also, I was one of the bigger guys in my class at the age of 16. I completely stopped growing after taking accutane. All of my classmates grew, while I only got smaller. Even my political views switched from conservative to extremely liberal, as someone reported earlier. These are, by far, the most bizarre side effects of accutane, completely eclipsing the dry skin and chapped lips, and yet I never heard a THING about it. I'm quite angry about this. Even today, no official reports that I have seen include low test as a side effect. This is something that people need to know about. It is NOT worth it. Give me my testosterone back... acne and all, I don't care. And it has been 6 years since I took it, and the effects have not waned. I have great trouble gaining weight, and the delicate features of my face, that others have described, are still there. I have a question about the test boosters- will they still work at my age? After going this long with depleted testosterone levels, do I have any hope of restoring myself back to normal? Accutane got rid of my acne alright, but I would NOT recommend it to any men- especially if they have not reached full adulthood.

Brady said...

Also, I want to add that I am very relieved to see that other people have suffered from these effects as well. I have always figured that it must have been from the accutane, but reading testimonials from others have erased any doubt. This stuff messes with you BAD and people need to know what it does.

Anonymous said...

I started Accutane when I was 19 so I was pretty much in the final stages of puberty. Unfortunately a year later my acne slowly started coming back so i had a blood test to see my hormone levels. Turns out my testosterone was through the roof! Mine was like 800 something when it should be about 500-600 (not sure what the units are). Accutane is believed to alter gene expression so because everyone is different they are affected by the drug in very subtle ways.

Mr. Not To Yield said...

Go to my site www.healthsihat.blogspot.com to see the effects of accutane treatment. Videos and articles available.

Kyle Para 04 said...

I am contemplating the same thing however i do not want to suffer these consequences for working out. Going on natural test boosters is not a good way to combat this problem as it can have problems in the future. Some test levels ive seen here are not even too high as they can peak at 1000 ng/dl (nanograms per decilitre) the best thing to do is stick it out until your levels become stable and you will clear up. In the meantime you can stick to topical agents to help you.

Accutane Prescription Medication said...

My name is Amanda Nourse and i would like to show you my personal experience with Accutane.

I have taken for 6 days. I am 27 years old. My dermatoglogist put me back on Accutane partially because Klaron, Rentin A, & Doxycyclin were NOT working....I have been on Accutane before about 7 years ago so not too concerned about the side effects. With my previous run on this medicine I didn't have the severe back aches. I will say I did have tons of issues registering with the IPledge website...all too confusing all to combersome! Didn't have to do that 7 years ago. Since this is my 2nd go round I can say that for me there were no depression issues because my skin looks awesome ...tons of compliments. As with all things once I stop so will the side effects. This medication is obviously for those with severe acne so you should certainly weigh the pros vs. the cons...for me I didn't think twice...

Side Effects :
I've been on Acutane for 6 days now & I will say my back is aching terribly & my lips are DRY!

I hope this information will be useful to others,
Amanda Nourse

Peter Jackson said...

I have been on accutane for 3 months and a week. Acne is still bad. My derm says it will be better within the next month. (that's also what she said last month.)Side effects aren't too bad.

Buy Accutane

drmark said...

This medication is obviously for those with severe acne so you should certainly weigh the pros vs. the cons...for me I didn't think twice
http://www.vanusapro.com

Liv said...

Interesting article, Steve. I'm about to go on accutane, so I'm trying to learn everything I can.

louis said...

I’m hoping that we’ll end up with a slew of prototyped ideas and a bunch of happy people. I’m sure there’ll be a lot more hard work until we can turn those embryonic proofs of concept into living

Generic Accutane said...

Accutane is very effective mediation if you know how to take it.

Paul said...

I was on 80mg/day of Accutane for 6 months. (Four months on the generic Sotret.) It was the best thing I ever did and I wish I had taken it sooner since I suffered with bad acne in high school and most of college.

The only side effects I got were the temporary dry eyes, skin, everything else.

I'd recommend just drinking lots of water, gentle exercise, plenty of sleep, and good nutrition while taking 'tane.

David Guio said...

Hi all

Above all do not want to scare or anything like that, but this is my story, and perhaps others will serve to decide whether or not to take the medicine.

My name is David I have 28 years, I'm from Madrid, and I also was taking Dercutane (Isotretinoin) for almost 9 months, a total of 10gram take that for my weight, 65Kilos is the maximum recommended dose can be given.

I had a mild nodular acne that is I got a few pimples but internal and took too long to leave, so the dermatologist decided to give me these miracle pills.

During the treatment, I had the typical side effects, like all people who take it, nothing alarming. But now, after almost a year after completing the treatment when I am suffering more: I have permament dry eyes, back and joint pains continued, headaches, generalized dryness throughout the body, nose bleeds, constipation, anxiety produced through all this trouble sleeping ..

My quality of life has been reduced by 70%, since I can not do almost anything he did before, I can not even bend over without pain in my back and knees.

My life has become a specialist come and go, orthopedic surgeons, ophthalmologists, rheumatologists, neurologists ... and none of them give me solution to my problems.

I created a website so that all who pass or have passed through what I promote it and to know what they can do this drug, which not even the laboratories that produce exactly know the mechanism of action is a poison, and certainly, at least I do, I devote my time and desire to spread my message.

This is the website I created: (In Spanish)

http://secuelasdercutane.org

Greetings
David

David Guio said...

Hi all

Above all do not want to scare or anything like that, but this is my story, and perhaps others will serve to decide whether or not to take the medicine.

My name is David I have 28 years, I'm from Madrid, and I also was taking Dercutane (Isotretinoin) for almost 9 months, a total of 10gram take that for my weight, 65Kilos is the maximum recommended dose can be given.

I had a mild nodular acne that is I got a few pimples but internal and took too long to leave, so the dermatologist decided to give me these miracle pills.

During the treatment, I had the typical side effects, like all people who take it, nothing alarming. But now, after almost a year after completing the treatment when I am suffering more: I have permament dry eyes, back and joint pains continued, headaches, generalized dryness throughout the body, nose bleeds, constipation, anxiety produced through all this trouble sleeping ..

My quality of life has been reduced by 70%, since I can not do almost anything he did before, I can not even bend over without pain in my back and knees.

My life has become a specialist come and go, orthopedic surgeons, ophthalmologists, rheumatologists, neurologists ... and none of them give me solution to my problems.

I created a website so that all who pass or have passed through what I promote it and to know what they can do this drug, which not even the laboratories that produce exactly know the mechanism of action is a poison, and certainly, at least I do, I devote my time and desire to spread my message.

This is the website I created: (In Spanish)

http://secuelasdercutane.org

Greetings
David