Hirsutism medical therapy

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Hirsutism Microchapters


Patient Information


Historical Perspective




Differentiating Hirsutism from other Diseases

Epidemiology and Demographics

Risk Factors


Natural History, Complications and Prognosis


Diagnostic Criteria

History and Symptoms

Physical Examination

Laboratory Findings



Echocardiography or Ultrasonography


Medical Therapy

Pharmacological therapy
Non-pharmacological therapy


Primary Prevention

Secondary Prevention

Cost-Effectiveness of Therapy

Future or Investigational Therapies

Case Studies

Case #1

Hirsutism medical therapy On the Web

Most recent articles

Most cited articles

Review articles

CME Programs

Powerpoint slides


Ongoing Trials at Clinical Trials.gov

US National Guidelines Clearinghouse

NICE Guidance

FDA on Hirsutism medical therapy

CDC on Hirsutism medical therapy

Hirsutism medical therapy in the news

Blogs on Hirsutism medical therapy

Directions to Hospitals Treating Hirsutism medical therapy

Risk calculators and risk factors for Hirsutism medical therapy

Editor-In-Chief: C. Michael Gibson, M.S., M.D. [1]; Associate Editor(s)-in-Chief: Eiman Ghaffarpasand, M.D. [2]


Pharmacologic medical therapies for hirsituism include oral contraceptives, androgen receptor blockers, 5-alpha reductase inhibitors, gonadotrophin-releasing hormone (GnRH agonist), adrenal suppressive glucocorticoids, insulin-sensitising agents, and biological modifiers of hair follicular growth. Treatment options are systemic therapy and topical therapy.

Medical Therapy


Group Medicine Dosage Mechanism of action Side effect Notes
Oral Contraceptive Pills (OCPs) Ethinyl estradiol/
30 μg /
1.0 mg
Mestranol/norethindrone 100 μg / 2mg
Ethinyl estradiol/
30 μg /
150 mcg
Antiandrogens Spironolactone 100-200 mg
Cyproterone Acetate 50-100 mg


Cyproterone Acetate/
ethinyl estradiol
2 mg /
35 μg
Flutamide 125-250 mg
Bicalutamide 25 mg
5-alpha reductase inhibitors Finasteride 1-5 mg


Dutasteride 0.5 mg
Gonadotrophin-releasing hormone (GnRH agonist) Leuprolide 7.5 mg
Adrenal suppressive glucocorticoids Prednisone 5-10 mg


Insulin-sensitising agents Metformin 500-1000 mg
  • These are best choices for hirsutism along with insulin resistance
  • It is not suggested to prescribe these drugs just for hirsutism
Rosiglitazone 4-8 mg
Pioglitazone 10-30 mg


  1. Sachdeva S (2010). "Hirsutism: evaluation and treatment". Indian J Dermatol. 55 (1): 3–7. doi:10.4103/0019-5154.60342. PMC 2856356. PMID 20418968.
  2. Murphy A, Cropp CS, Smith BS, Burkman RT, Zacur HA (1990). "Effect of low-dose oral contraceptive on gonadotropins, androgens, and sex hormone binding globulin in nonhirsute women". Fertil. Steril. 53 (1): 35–9. PMID 2136834.
  3. Givens, James R.; Andersen, Richard N.; Wiser, Winfred L.; Fish, Stewart A. (1974). "Dynamics of Suppression and Recovery of Plasma FSH, LH, Androstenedione and Testosterone in Polycystic Ovarian Disease Using an Oral Contraceptive". The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism. 38 (5): 727–735. doi:10.1210/jcem-38-5-727. ISSN 0021-972X.
  4. Dewis P, Petsos P, Newman M, Anderson DC (1985). "The treatment of hirsutism with a combination of desogestrel and ethinyl oestradiol". Clin. Endocrinol. (Oxf). 22 (1): 29–36. PMID 3156694.
  5. Shaw JC (1991). "Spironolactone in dermatologic therapy". J. Am. Acad. Dermatol. 24 (2 Pt 1): 236–43. PMID 1826112.
  6. Lumachi F, Rondinone R (2003). "Use of cyproterone acetate, finasteride, and spironolactone to treat idiopathic hirsutism". Fertil. Steril. 79 (4): 942–6. PMID 12749435.
  7. Van der Spuy ZM, le Roux PA (2003). "Cyproterone acetate for hirsutism". Cochrane Database Syst Rev (4): CD001125. doi:10.1002/14651858.CD001125. PMID 14583927.
  8. Faloia E, Filipponi S, Mancini V, Di Marco S, Mantero F (1998). "Effect of finasteride in idiopathic hirsutism". J. Endocrinol. Invest. 21 (10): 694–8. doi:10.1007/BF03350800. PMID 9854686.
  9. Castelo-Branco C, Cancelo MJ (2010). "Comprehensive clinical management of hirsutism". Gynecol. Endocrinol. 26 (7): 484–93. doi:10.3109/09513591003686353. PMID 20218823.
  10. Paparodis R, Dunaif A (2011). "The Hirsute woman: challenges in evaluation and management". Endocr Pract. 17 (5): 807–18. doi:10.4158/EP11117.RA. PMID 21856600.
  11. Blume-Peytavi U (2013). "How to diagnose and treat medically women with excessive hair". Dermatol Clin. 31 (1): 57–65. doi:10.1016/j.det.2012.08.009. PMID 23159176.
  12. Bode D, Seehusen DA, Baird D (2012). "Hirsutism in women". Am Fam Physician. 85 (4): 373–80. PMID 22335316.
  13. Escobar-Morreale HF, Carmina E, Dewailly D, Gambineri A, Kelestimur F, Moghetti P, Pugeat M, Qiao J, Wijeyaratne CN, Witchel SF, Norman RJ (2012). "Epidemiology, diagnosis and management of hirsutism: a consensus statement by the Androgen Excess and Polycystic Ovary Syndrome Society". Hum. Reprod. Update. 18 (2): 146–70. doi:10.1093/humupd/dmr042. PMID 22064667.
  14. Martin KA, Chang RJ, Ehrmann DA, Ibanez L, Lobo RA, Rosenfield RL, Shapiro J, Montori VM, Swiglo BA (2008). "Evaluation and treatment of hirsutism in premenopausal women: an endocrine society clinical practice guideline". J. Clin. Endocrinol. Metab. 93 (4): 1105–20. doi:10.1210/jc.2007-2437. PMID 18252793.
  15. Farshi S, Mansouri P, Rafie F (2012). "A randomized double blind, vehicle controlled bilateral comparison study of the efficacy and safety of finasteride 0.5% solution in combination with intense pulsed light in the treatment of facial hirsutism". J Cosmet Laser Ther. 14 (4): 193–9. doi:10.3109/14764172.2012.699680. PMID 22658123.

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