Cyproterone Acetate and Hair Loss
Cyproterone acetate is an anti-androgen. It inhibits the effect of androgens on target tissues and reduces the production of testosterone. This drug is commonly used in conjunction with oral contraceptive or sometimes prescribed to women to treat female pattern baldness or hirsuitism. When cyproterone acetate is given in combination with the pill, it is likely to reduce hair growth, lighten the hair color, and decrease the hair thickness in hirsute areas.
Cyproterone acetate blocks the binding of DHT dihydrotestosterone to its receptors. In a study conducted by Peereboom-Wynia JD; van der Willigen AH; van Joost T; Stolz E (Acta Derm Venereol 1989; 69 (5): 395-8) showed that female test subjects who were treated with cyproterone acetate exhibited a statistically significant increase in anagen hairs as well as a statistically significant decrease in telogen hairs as compared to the control group.
In men, cyproterone acetate competitively inhibits the effect of androgens from both the testis and the adrenal cortex. The sex drive and virility are also reduced and the function of the testis inhibited. These changes are reversible after discontinuation of the therapy. This drug can have some serious effects on male's sex drive and is sometimes prescribed for people undergoing male-female sex change.
Recently, a study by Gruber DM, Sator MO, Joura EA, Kokoschka EM, Heinze G, Huber JC. (Arch Dermatol. 1998 Apr;134(4):459-63. Related Articles, Links) concluded that topically applied cyproterone acetate in combination with liposomes are as effective as oral antiandrogen medication in acne treatment while reducing the risk of adverse effects and avoiding high serum cyproterone acetate concentrations. This suggests that topical cyproterone may be effective in treating hairloss in some patients by working as an androgen receptors blocker. More info
Brand Name: Diane35 (former name), Dianette (Schering), Androcur or Cyprostat (Europe). This product is not available in the U.S. Click here for an in-depth discussion about Diane35.
Side effects: Cyproterone acetate inhibits sperm production in men and may lead to gynaecomastia, ie: development of breast tissue. In women, ovulation is inhibited under the combined treatment, so that a state of infertility exists. A feeling of tension in the breasts may occur. Tiredness and diminished vitality and occasionally temporary inner restlessness or depressive moods can occur. Changes in body weight are possible.