Whilst I realise the good that this drug does a lot of people (including myself as it cleared up my acne permanently), I feel like I should share the negative side effects of this drug, as the impact it has had on me has been really quite severe.
I am now 32 and was prescribed Roaccutane at the age of 18, just before leaving home and going to university. At the time I didn't realise it was the drugs, but they gradually caused me to withdraw from everyone and everything due to the effects it had on me both physically and therefore mentally.
To start with, it caused external skin issues such as dry skin, eczema, sweating and blushing - I used to be so confident but would suddenly blush when spoken to, for no apparent reason, which often caused me to literally run away in panic. This blushing issue became worse and worse, so I then grew extremely anxious that it would happen all the time, which of course it therefore did. I avoided people and became shy and introverted during what should have been the most exciting time of my life so far.
It also caused me to break out in a severe heat rash whenever I went out in the sun, to the extent that I began to hide myself away in my room with my curtains closed whilst everyone else went out to the fields to enjoy the day and socialise - I normally would have loved to be involved in this, as I was sociable and fun to be around, but instead I became lonely, miserable and probably "weird" in the eyes of everyone else.
After just one term of uni, I had stopped going to lectures and was thrown off my course. I decided to start a new course the following academic year (telling my parents that teaching wasn't for me, so I'd try a Business degree instead), but I found immediately that I still couldn't attend lectures and was therefore thrown off that course too. I was terrified to tell my parents, because I knew they'd be so disappointed, so I lied to them continually which caused my anxiety to soar. I spent most of my time in my room on my own. I would sleep all day long, go out every night with the few friends I had left, I was drinking a great deal, and I was so insecure and lacking an ounce of confidence that I became promiscuous.
I got myself into a load of debt with credit cards, since they were practically thrown at students back then, and basically wasted almost two years of my life on a downward spiral.
The physical symptoms worsened and continued for years after I'd stopped taking the meds, and I have absolutely no doubt at all that they triggered the bouts of severe depression that I consequently experienced (I've attempted suicide three times in the past) and also my seemingly never-ending anxiety. Until I took Roaccutane, I was a joyful, confident, fun, life-loving girl.
Although I thankfully no longer experience the blushing, the sweating, the heat rashes or the eczema, I still have to apply lip balm every half an hour otherwise my lips dry out completely - if I were ever to go anywhere without it, I'd probably have a meltdown!
Overall, the Roaccutane did what it was supposed to do - it cleared up my acne - but if I could turn the clock back and never take the stuff, I would. I seriously believe that if I hadn't taken it, my life would have turned out very, very differently - and most definitely for the better.