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Acta Derm Venereol. 1984;64(6):517-23.

Serum total and unbound testosterone and sex hormone binding globulin (SHBG) in female acne patients treated with two different oral contraceptives.


Serum total an unbound testosterone (T) and sex hormone binding globulin (SHBG) levels were studied in fifty-four female acne patients before treatment and during the treatment by two different oral contraceptives, the other containing 0.150 mg desogestrel plus 0.03 mg EE and the other 0.150 mg levonorgestrel plus 0.03 mg EE. Pretreatment values were abnormal in 57% of the patients. A borderline significant correlation between the severity of acne and SHBG was found. Ater six months' treatment a 250% increase in SHBG was seen in desogestrel/EE group and no significant change in SHBG in levonorgestrel/EE group. However, at the same time serum free testosterone fell 60% in both treatment groups. SHBG cannot be the only regulator of serum free testosterone. Acne improved significantly in both treatment groups. It is likely that the improvement was in connection with the free testosterone decrease and the improvement was better in the desogestrel/EE group where also SHBG elevation was seen.

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