Information and Solutions for Men and Women

What Is Cyproterone Acetate?

Cyproterone acetate may help with female pattern hair loss.

Cyproterone acetate is an oral progestin drug that is typically used along with birth control drugs for women with female pattern hair loss (FPHL). It also has some weak adrenal gland suppressant effects. Cyproterone acetate is not available for use in the United States. However, it is prescribed regularly in European countries, Mexico, and Canada, and is considered the best treatment option for FPHL by some experts.(1530)

Can Cyproterone Acetate Stop Hair Loss?

Research results suggest that cyproterone acetate may be helpful for women with excess androgen hormones. Unfortunately, excess androgen is not present in all cases of FPHL.(20)

In a 12-month study, cyproterone acetate was combined with an oral contraceptive and compared to 2% topical minoxidil cream. The combination drug treatment improved hair density in women with irregular menstrual periods (a symptom of possible androgen excess). (20)

However, 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)


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


For safety reasons, premenopausal women are prescribed birth control pills in combination with cyproterone acetate.(1530)

In women with polycystic ovary syndrome the drug also reduces hirsutism.(1530)

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.(1530)

It is also known to lower vitamin B12, and sometimes biotin. Vitamin B12 supplements must be taken with cyproterone acetate, and biotin (if necessary).(1530)

Other adverse side effects can include:(31530)

  • Breast pain
  • Decreased libido
  • Mood swings and depression
  • Fatigue
  • Headaches
  • Hepatitis
  • High blood pressure
  • Nausea
  • Swelling
  • Weight gain
Hair Regrowth is Possible

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Excess hair growth in areas atypical for females (e.g., face, chest, and back).(15)
Possibly due to vitamin B12 deficiency caused by drug.(30)