Treatment of hirsutism and acne in hyperandrogenism

Paolo Moghetti, Vincenzo Toscano
Best Practice & Research. Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism 2006, 20 (2): 221-34
Hirsutism and acne are common and highly distressing complaints in women with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS). Drugs are only partially effective on terminalized hairs, and removal of these hairs is usually required. Therefore, management of hirsutism is generally based upon a dual approach: a pharmacological therapy to reduce androgen secretion and/or androgen action, and removal of terminal hair already present. Ovarian suppression of androgen secretion with oral contraceptives is widely used in these women, but its efficacy appears limited. The most effective medical therapy for hirsutism is by anti-androgen drugs. Electrolysis and laser photothermolysis are considered the most effective cosmetic procedures, although the effects of these methods should not be considered permanent. Acne may be treated with different tools, according to the severity of the condition and other characteristics of the patient. These tools include topical and systemic retinoids and antibiotics, topical antibacterial agents, androgen suppression by oral contraceptives, and anti-androgen drugs.

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