Nov 13, 2011

About Liver and the importance of blood tests during the Ro/Accutane Treatment

Hello! Today we're gonna talk about:

  • the effect of the pills on your liver
  • why the blood tests are important
  • short description of the main blood tests I've done during the treatment

Let's begin with the first point: how the pill affects your body.
I'm not a specialist or a doctor but I'm thinking that if I take 4 pills/ day, during a longer period of time (3-4 months with no break)...is not too good for the body...is not natural...I'm sure that you agree with me until now. So, don't be scared if you want to begin a treatment,  you can do it without so many risks after all you are under medical supervision...right??? 
Don't play with this!!! Pills are serious shit and don't eat them like candies.
Before you take ANY pill, see a doctor!!! especially if we are talking about Ro/Accutane!!!


My first question is: which internal organ is processing the pills I take?

According to the University of Nottingham:
"Most drug metabolism occurs in the liver, although some processes occur in the gut wall, lungs and blood plasma. The liver hepatocytes contain all the necessary enzymes for the metabolism of drugs."
www.nottingham.ac.uk


How important is the liver for you body?

According to Wikipedia, "the liver is necessary for survival; there is currently no way to compensate for the absence of liver function long term.

It has a wide range of functions, including detoxification, protein synthesis, and production of biochemicals necessary for digestion.
This organ plays a major role in metabolism and has a number of functions in the body, including glycogen storage, decomposition of red blood cells, plasma protein synthesis, hormone production, and detoxification"

www.wikipedia.com

What have we learned until now? if we take soo many pills, the liver is the internal organ that has to process them.
For example, in my case since November until December (let's say one month of Roaccutane) I've took 4 pills per day...for 30days. That means 120 pills :D which is a LOT. one month = 120 pills. Let's forget that until the end of March I took also 4 pills (40mg) per day.
The liver is vital for our health so we need to take care of it. 


How can we see if the liver functions correctly?

We need to take some blood test. I'm scared of needles but I can handle the pressure for 1 minute...the effort worth it all...keep in mind that you do all of that for your health....for your skin.

In my past article I've written the blood tests that my doctor told me I should repeat:
  1. Liver enzymesliver transaminases (AST/ALT (SGOT/SGPT)
  2. Cholesterol, triglyceride, lipids 
  3. A complete blood count (CBC)
  4. Sed rate, or erythrocyte sedimentation rate (ESR)

I'll return to wikipedia and www.medicinenet.com because they are an official source and I'm not a specialist. 

I quote:

  • Cholesterol is a waxy steroid of fat that is produced in the liver or intestines 
  • Triglycerides are the main constituents of vegetable oil (typically more unsaturated) and animal fats (typically more saturated). In humans, triglycerides are a mechanism for storing unused calories, and their high concentrations in blood correlates with the consumption of starchy and fatty foods.
  • According to some, liver transaminases (AST/ALT (SGOT/SGPT) are NOT liver function tests but are biomarkers of liver injury in a patient with some degree of intact liver function
  • LDH or LD is an enzyme. Elevated levels of LDH may indicate liver damage.
  • The complete blood count, or CBC includes:

    • White blood cell count
    • WBC differential count
    • Red blood cell count
    • Hematocrit (Hct)
    • Hemoglobin (Hbg)
    • Mean corpuscular volume (MCV)
    • Mean corpuscular hemoglobin (MCH)
    • Mean corpuscular hemoglobin concentration (MCHC)
    • Red cell distribution width (RDW)
    • Platelet count
    • Mean Platelet Volume (MPV)
  • Sed rate, or erythrocyte sedimentation rate (ESR), is a blood test that can reveal inflammatory activity in your body and measures the speed at which red blood cells fall to the bottom of an upright glass test tube

In my first month of Roaccutane treatment, I've made 2 sets of blood test; one in November (at the beginning of the treatment) and another one after one month to see if my body accepts the treatment.
Thank God...everything was ok:)


Why are the blood tests so important during the treatment?


Because you can see if your body accepts the treatment!!!
If your tests aren't very good and your liver is affected, your doctor will adjust the RO/Accutane dose that you are taking and in this way you will have less side effects.
Each time my doctor asked me to do the blood test I did it... right away...


I hope that after you've read this post you have an idea about what happens with the liver, how to protect it  and also why the blood tests are very important.
If you have any other questions and you are uncertain about some aspects don't hesitate to ask your doctor...he will explain you more and you will understand better...

Always be informed and prepared !

Take care,

Leonore



Related posts:

What should you expect when you start a Ro/Accutane Treatment
My Roaccutane dosage
Accutane review: MY side effects



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