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"Confetti Skin, Beauty Within" is our blog about ichthyosis and its effect on our lives. Rachel and our three boys are affected with the form of ichthyosis called "icthyosis en confetti, type 2".

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Rachel’s isotretinoin log: Week 1

I feel kind of miserable right now, but I’m not entirely how much I should be blaming isotretinoin, also known as Accutane and other names.

I’ve been taking 40 mg/day (0.6 mg/kg/day) since last Monday night, so it’s been one week since I’ve been on the drug.

My skin is starting to peel. My face started peeling on Sunday morning, and my nose feels dry and itchy, even after putting on a few layers of cream. My hands now have several thin spots on them — they feel just like they did back when I was using Retin-A (topical tretinoin cream) back when I was a kid. I don’t have any raw spots on my face or hands (yet), although I have a bit of rawness…elsewhere.

I’m also itching. A lot. I suspect that this is the precursor to a full-body peel. I had the misfortune of getting a whole bunch of insect bites on my lower legs a few weeks ago, and the bites were mostly healed when I started on the isotretinoin last week, but the bitten areas are especially itchy, even though they’re almost fully healed.

That’s about all that I think is directly attributable to the isotretinoin. But I’m feeling miserable for a few other reasons, too.

I’ve been fighting a nasty bug for the past week. Strep test came out negative, but I do have an ear infection and a sinus infection, and last Wednesday night I was coughing so much I wound up keeping myself up for most of the night. I’ve been on antibiotics and prescription-strength cough medicine and fluticasone (Flonase) since Thursday, which have helped a little. (And I even checked with my dermatologist about drug interactions — she said I should be fine.)

Also unrelated, but definitely contributing to my misery of the past week, was the fact that I passed a kidney stone last Sunday (before I started on the isotretinoin). Yuck. And ouch.

Because of sinus pressure and general miserableness, I postponed my usual Friday-night drive from DC to Richmond until Saturday afternoon. The drive, which usually takes me a little under 2 hours, wound up taking me 4.5 hours. I’m sure that added to my misery. I was not a very pleasant person to be around on Saturday evening. Mood-altering medicine, or just an understandable side effect of being stuck in traffic, itching, having a massive headache, coughing and other illness? Meh.

Oh, yeah. Did I mention that I’m falling behind on some projects at work, and elsewhere?

Jennifer seems to have come down with some of the same symptoms, so our family is full of cheerfulness right now.

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