Anti-androgen treatment in women with acne: a controlled trial


Dr J.A. Miller, Department of Dermatology, The Middlesex Hospital, Mortimer Street, London, W1, U.K.


Ninety female patients with acne were allocated randomly to one of three groups and treated either with Diane, a high dose cyproterone acetate (CPA) regime with ethinyloestradiol, or Minovlar. The same dose of oestrogen was common to all three treatment groups.

Patients were assessed every 2 months for 6 months, by grading for severity of the acne, lesion counts and photography, and subjectively using a visual analogue scale. In addition, bacteriological sampling and sebum excretion rate (SER) measurements were performed.

The results showed a clinical improvement in all three treatment groups, but a more rapid and complete response was seen in those groups who received CPA. There was also a consistent trend suggesting a more favourable response in those in the high dose CPA group. Although there was a marked reduction in SER in the groups treated with CPA, there was no correlation between reduction in SER and clinical improvement in individuals, nor could a reduction in the surface bacterial population be shown to be a primary event in the success of anti-androgen therapy. We have shown that the addition of CPA to oestrogen adds significantly to the therapeutic effect in acne and that anti-androgen and oestrogen combinations are more effective than standard oestrogen and progestagen contraceptive pills.