Medical treatment regimens of hirsutism

Sahin Y., Kelestimur F.

REPRODUCTIVE BIOMEDICINE ONLINE, vol.8, no.5, pp.538-546, 2004 (SCI-Expanded) identifier identifier


Hirsutism, which is a common clinical problem in women of reproductive age, is characterized by excessive growth of terminal hair in the androgen-sensitive skin regions. It is the result of either androgen excess or increased sensitivity of the hair follicles to normal levels of androgens. The management, which includes cosmetic measures and medical treatment, is far from satisfactory. Anti-androgen drugs play a key role in the treatment of hirsutism, but they have some side-effects which may result in cessation of the drug. On the other hand, anti-androgen treatment often needs to be continued for a long time. So, safe, inexpensive, and effective anti-androgen drugs are needed. Recently low-dose anti-androgen drugs have been shown to be effective in the maintenance of treatment. On the other hand, cyproterone acetate plus ethyniloestradiol and spironolactone, cyproterone acetate plus ethyniloestradiol and finasteride, and spironolactone and finasteride combinations have been used succesfully in decreasing the hirsutism score. There are also some promising data regarding the effects of insulin sensitizers in the treatment of hirsutism, particularly in patients with polycystic ovarian syndrome. In the present review, the main features of anti-androgen drugs, new combined treatments, and insulin sensitizers in the treatment of hirsutism are discussed.