A systematic review of commonly used medical treatments for hirsutism in women.Clin Endocrinol (Oxf). 2008 May; 68(5):800-5.CE
To evaluate the efficacy of various drug treatments in common use for hirsutism in women.
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.
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).
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.