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J Dtsch Dermatol Ges. 2010 Mar;8 Suppl 1:S60-74. doi: 10.1111/j.1610-0387.2009.07171.x.

[Hormonal antiandrogens in acne treatment].

[Article in German]

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Klinik für Dermatologie, Venerologie und Allergologie/Immunologisches Zentrum, Städtisches Klinikum Dessau, Dessau-Rosslau.



An enhanced sebaceous gland activity with production of proinflammtory sebaceous lipids belongs to the major pathogenetic factors of acne. Hormonal antiandrogen treatment targets the androgen-metabolizing cells of the pilosebaceous unit, i. e. follicular kertinocytes and sebocytes, and leads to sebostasis, with a reduction of the sebum secretion rate of 12.5 to 65 %. Concerning their mechanism of action, hormonal antiandrogens are classified in androgen receptor blockers, inhibitors of circulating androgens by affecting the ovarial function (oral contraceptives), inhibitors of circulating androgens by affecting the pituitary (gonadotrophin-releasing hormone agonists and dopamin agonists in hyperprolactinemia), inhibitors of the adrenal function, and inhibitors of peripheral androgen metabolism (5-reductase inhibitors, inhibitors of other enzymes).


In this study, all original and review publications on hormonal antiandrogen treatment of acne as monotherapy or in combination included in MEDLINE, EMBASE and COCHRANE libraries were extracted by using the terms "acne", "seborrhea", "polycystic ovary syndrome", "hyperandrog*" and "treatment" and classified according to their level of evidence.


Antiandrogen treatment is overall active on acne lesions. The combinations of ethinyl estradiol with cyproterone acetate chlormadinone acetate, dienogest desogestrel and drospirenone have shown the strongest antiacne activity. Gestagens or estrogens as monotherapy, spironolactone, flutamide, gonadotrophin-releasing hormone agonists and inhibitors of peripheral androgen metabolism are not recommended according to the current stand of knowledge. Low dose prednisolone is to only be administered at late onset congenital adrenal hyperplasia and dopamine agonists at hyperprolactinemia. Treatment with hormonal antiandrogens requires missing of any contraindications.


Hormonal antiandrogen treatment is limited to female patients who present additional signs of peripheral hyperandrogenism or hyperandrogenemia. In addition, females with acne tarda, persistent acne recalcitrant to treatment, with parallel wish of contraception, and as a requirement for a systemic isotretinoin treatment can be treated with hormonal antiandrogens. Hormonal antiandrogen treatment is not a primary monotherapy for uncomplicated acne.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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