A woman who had a brush with death after taking Roaccutane for just two months is warning others about the risks of the controversial anti-acne drug.
Charlotte Carpenter, 24, suffered horrendous pain in her side and difficulty breathing and was rushed to A&E with life-threatening pancreatitis.
She was shocked to be told the condition – where the pancreas becomes inflamed and can cause complications, such as multiple organ failure – was a side effect of the medication she’d taken for her skin problems.
Now the hospital administrator – who had been plagued by severe acne since the age of 12 – is speaking out to tell acne sufferers that ‘the benefits do not outweigh the risks’.
Pancreatitis is just one of a host of possible serious side effects associated with Roaccutane, which has been linked to at least 20 suicides in Britain since 2012.
Yet worryingly, prescriptions of the drug – which can cause debilitating depression, psychotic disorder and bowel disease – have increased more than sixfold in the last decade.
Anxiety: Charlotte’s severe acne plagued her throughout her teens and 20s
Charlotte, from Burton-on-Trent, was prescribed Roaccutane last August after all other medication had failed to work.
She said: ‘I had horrendous pain in my side.I was doubled over and barely able to breathe. It was terrifying – I felt like I was dying.
‘Roaccutane did work wonders for my skin. But it nearly ozempic cost without insurance me my life – it’s a high price to pay for clear skin.
The drug contain the active ingredient isotretinoin, which is a vitamin A derivative
‘I understand how desperate youngsters can become when acne is destroying their confidence, but I want to speak out and make people aware of the dangers of this so-called wonder drug.’
Charlotte’s acne was so bad that at one stage, she woke up with blood all over her pillow from burst pustules.
At 18 and extremely self-conscious, she was referred to a dermatologist.But none of the antibiotics or creams she tried over the years had any affect.
Having such bad skin throughout her teens and 20s made Charlotte so anxious she was eventually prescribed anti-depressants by her GP.
The 24-year-old used to wear heavy make-up in an attempt to hide her bad skin
She said: ‘I felt like I was in never-ending spiral downwards and I just didn’t know where or when it was ever going to end.
‘It made me feel like a freak and I started to become very antisocial and depressed.’
Charlotte’s dermatologist suggested Roaccutane – and she says she was warned about the potential side effects but was so desperate for a solution she agreed to try it.
She never imagined that, after two months of taking it, she would end up in a hospital bed hooked up to tubes and drips – but she is thankful she’s alive.
Charlotte found a cure for her acne with Sebopure
The Reeves in Essex have not been as lucky.Just last week, the heartbroken parents of 21-year-old Luke Reeves spoke out to claim their popular son killed himself after Roaccutane changed his personality.
In 2015 the UK drugs regulator the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency showed 20 people died while taking Roaccutane between 2012 and 2014.
Critics are concerned doctors are giving it out ‘like sweets’ without due consideration for its possible devastating effects.
Figures show prescriptions of the drug, known as isotretinoin, have increased from 6,522 in 2006 to 48,997 in 2016.
The label warning with Roaccutane says ‘very common’ reactions include anaemia and conjunctivitis, while ‘common’ side effects include headache.
Depression is classed as a ‘rare’ side effect and suicidal ideation, psychotic disorder, pancreatitis, arthritis, diabetes mellitus and hepatitis are all classed as ‘very rare’.