Medical treatment of hirsutism
Article first published online: 6 OCT 2008
© 2008 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.
Volume 21, Issue 5, pages 329–339, September/October 2008
How to Cite
Blume-Peytavi, U. and Hahn, S. (2008), Medical treatment of hirsutism. Dermatologic Therapy, 21: 329–339. doi: 10.1111/j.1529-8019.2008.00215.x
- Issue published online: 6 OCT 2008
- Article first published online: 6 OCT 2008
- enzyme inhibitors;
- insulin-sensitizing agents;
- oral contraceptives
ABSTRACT: Hirsutism is usually the result of an underlying adrenal, ovarian, or central endocrine abnormality mainly due to polycystic ovary syndrome but may also be idiopathic or drug induced. The aim of medical treatment of hirsutism is to rectify any causal hormonal balance, slow down or stop excessive hair growth, and improve the aesthetic appearance of hirsutism, thereby positively affecting the patient's quality of life. Today, for the majority of women, a monotherapy with oral contraceptives that have antiandrogenic activity is recommended as a first-line treatment for hirsutism. Combining an oral contraceptive pill with an antiandrogen is recommended if clinical improvement of hirsutism is insufficient after 6–9 months’ monotherapy. In women who present with hirsutism, hyperandrogenism, and insulin resistance, insulin sensitizers are effective for the hirsutism as well as the hyperinsulinemia, hyperandrogenism, and infertility but there is no convincing evidence that they are effective for hirsutism alone. Topical eflornithine is a medical therapy that can be a useful adjuvant for hirsutism when used in conjunction with systemic medications or with laser/photoepilation.