Hair Removal Medication (2)
Because of the ambiguous nature of hair removal prescriptions, which can vary greatly between individuals, it is fairly difficult to assess the effectiveness of such drugs. One researcher reported that there were a high number of ‘false positives’ being given by doctors assessing patients taking Vaniqa, the popular hair removal prescription cream.
The different types of medications which are known to reduce hair growth
Vaniqa is a popular prescription cream that effectively reduces the growth of unwanted hair on the face and the body in women. It is the only prescription product which has been approved by the Food and Drug Administartion (FDA), as a way of curbing and preventing excessive hair from growing on the skin.
The best known drug for treated excessive body hair in the US is called Spironolactone, otherwise known as Aldactone. The drug is regularly prescribed to patients suffering from a condition known as hirsutism.
Hirsutism affects women and is when abnormally excessive amounts of hair grow in conventionally ‘male’ places, like on the upper lip and the chin. The properties found in Spironolactone obstruct the production of testosterone in the body, by increasing the metabolism of any testosterone which the female produces.
Long term use of Spironalactone encourages the production of dihydrotestosterone, the hormone which is responsible for male pattern baldness. There are no side effects of this type of hair controlling drug, although it is advised not to be taken during pregnancy or with women who have a family history of breast cancer.
Flutamide is considered to be an effective drug in hampering the growth of excess body and facial hair. It works by attaching itself to the androgen receptors found on the cells of hair follicles, which then prevents the androgens from fueling hair growth. Unlike Spironolactone, Flutamide can cause many unwanted side effects in some women.
According to the FDA, approximately 3 per 10,000 Flutamide users end up getting hepatotoxicity from the drug. Symptoms of hepatotoxicity include fatigue, jaundice, nausea and vomiting.
Finasteride, otherwise known as Propecia or Proscar, works by blocking the conversion of testosterone into dihydrotestosterone, the hormone which stimulates growth in hair follicles on the body which contain androgen receptors. By disabling this conversion it thereby prevents the excessive growth of hair on the face and the body.
Finasteride is a popular and safe drug to help control and curb people suffering from excessive facial hair with few known side effects. Although it is also advised to not be used by pregnant women, as the most significant side effect of this drug is that it causes male fetuses to develop female genitalia.
This is a relatively new drug used to control excessive hair growth on the body and conditions like hirsutism. It works by stopping the production of hormones by the adrenal glands and the ovaries.
Although Ketoconazole is proven to be an effective drug to impair the growth of hair on the face and the body, many doctors and dermatologists are cautious of using it on a regular basis because of its potential side effects, principally the risk of hepatotoxicity.