Information and Solutions for Men and Women

Cyproterone Acetate

Cyproterone acetate may help with female pattern hair loss.

An orally administered progestin that is typically used along with oral contraceptive drugs for women with female pattern hair loss (FPHL), cyproterone acetate also has some weak adrenal gland suppressant effects. It is not available for use in the United States, but is prescribed regularly in European countries, Mexico, and Canada, and is considered the best treatment option for FPHL by some experts.15, 30

However, research results suggest that it may only be beneficial in those women with excess androgen hormones —something not present in all cases of FPHL. In a 12 month study comparing its use in combination with an oral contraceptive against 2% topical minoxidil cream, cyproterone acetate treatment improved hair density in women with irregular menstrual periods (a symptom of possible androgen excess); but hair density decreased in women with regular periods. The minoxidil -treated group experienced significant increases in hair density.20

Dosing Information for Cyproterone Acetate

Cyproterone acetate can be prescribed to premenopausal and postmenopausal women, with different dosages:30

Table 40: Cyproterone Acetate Recommended Doses
RECOMMENDED DOSAGES FOR CYPROTERONE ACETATE
PREMENOPAUSAL

50-100 mg/day, 5th-15th day of menstrual cycle for first 6 months of treatment

2 mg/day, 1st-21st day of menstrual cycle (followed by one week off) for next 18 months

POSTMENOPAUSAL
50 mg daily

Because of potential safety reasons, premenopausal women capable of conception are prescribed birth control pills in combination with cyproterone acetate.30 In women with polycystic ovary syndrome it also reduces hirsutism.15

Potential Side Effects and Safety Precautions with Cyproterone Acetate

Women capable of conception should not take cyproterone acetate without birth control pills because it can feminize a male fetus. Because of the risk of birth defects it is obviously contraindicated in pregnancy. It is also known to lower vitamin B12, and sometimes biotin. Vitamin B12 supplements must be taken with cyproterone acetate, and biotin (if necessary).15, 30

Other adverse side effects can include:3, 15, 30

  • breast pain
  • decreased libido
  • mood swings and depression
  • fatigue
  • headaches
  • Hepatitis
  • high blood pressure
  • nausea
  • swelling
  • weight gain
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Rogaine®
Excess hair growth in areas atypical for females (e.g., face, chest, and back).
Possibly due to vitamin B12 deficiency caused by drug.