Author(s): Townsend KA, Marlowe KF
OBJECTIVE: To evaluate the relative safety and efficacy of finasteride for treatment of hirsutism related to hyperandrogenism in women.
DATA SOURCES: Literature retrieval was accessed through MEDLINE (1966-March 2003) using the terms finasteride and hirsutism. Additional information was obtained from the drug manufacturer.
DATA SYNTHESIS: Finasteride has been evaluated for treatment of hirsutism in multiple observational and randomized trials. Finasteride lowered hirsutism scores by 30-60% in most trials, as well as decreasing average hair diameter. In comparative trials, finasteride demonstrated efficacy similar to that of other antiandrogens, with fewer adverse effects.
CONCLUSIONS: Finasteride does reduce the overall hair diameter and number in androgen-sensitive areas. Reported adverse effects have been minimal. Concern over potential teratogenicity and lack of long-term safety information leave finasteride a secondary treatment option for hirsutism.