Journal Article
Review
Systematic Review
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A systematic review of commonly used medical treatments for hirsutism in women.

OBJECTIVE: To evaluate the efficacy of various drug treatments in common use for hirsutism in women.

DESIGN: A systematic review of published randomized controlled trials (RCTs). We included RCTs that tested commonly prescribed pharmaceutical treatments for hirsutism and the most common outcome measure, a decrease in Ferriman-Gallwey (F-G) score for hirsutism after 6 months of treatment. We excluded trials using unconventional treatments, alternative treatment outcomes, and trials referring to women with conditions other than polycystic ovary syndrome or idiopathic hirsutism.

RESULTS: We identified 79 RCTs of which 28 were eligible for analysis. A significant reduction in hirsutism was found for flutamide, spironolactone, cyproterone acetate combined with an oral contraceptive, thiazolidinediones, oral contraceptive pills (OCPs), finasteride and metformin but not for placebo. Reduction in F-G score in response to treatment was negatively associated with body mass index (BMI) (r = -0.38; P = 0.004).

CONCLUSIONS: Seven different drug groups result in improvement in hirsutism and creative use of these will open new options for women with hirsutism. Obesity has a negative impact on the efficacy of treatments for hirsutism, thus appropriate lifestyle advice is necessary for a successful treatment programme.

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