Unwanted Facial Hair

Growth Inhibitors

Drug Class

Eflornithine is an ornithine decarboxylase blocker

Eflornithine hydrochloride (HCl) cream 13.9% inhibits the enzyme ornithine decarboxylase(ODC) which is required for hair growth. It blocks the production of hair shaft protein and stops the growth of the hair matrix cells after they have been stimulated by androgens.

The drug is applied as a cream to the skin. Less than 1% is absorbed through the skin and this is excreted by the kidneys. It does not accumulate in the plasma.

Eflornithine hydrochloride (HCl) cream is not genotoxic, carcinogenic, photo carcinogenic and non-teratogenic.

Trade Names


Dosage and Administration

Vaniqa® is applied twice a day to the area to be treated. It can be combined with other treatments to enhance their effectiveness. Topical eflornithine HCl is effective against all causes of excessive facial hair, regardless of hair colour.

Safety Information

Combination Vaniqa® and laser therapy - 2 studies

  1. Reported at American society of Laser Medicine and Surgery Abstracts 2003 105:32.
    Hair removal with combined Alexandrite laser and Vaniqa® was superior to removal of unwanted facial hair with laser alone
  2. 2. Reported at 61st annual Meeting of the Academy of Dermatology San Francisco 2003(Poster 649)
    "Concomitant use of Vaniqa® and laser (1064nm Nd-YAG and a 755nm Alexandrite laser) showed synergistic effect with greater benefit, both with respect to onset and degree of removal, for the initial period (22weeks) of hair removal therapy. Patient satisfaction clearly supported the use of combination therapy."

Studies with Vaniqa® monotherapy

  1. Two Efficacy and safety phase 3 trials of Vaniqa® in the treatment of women with hirsutismrReported in Annual meeting of the American Academy of Dermatology 2000. Vaniqa® shown to be superior to placebo at 24 weeks in 176 women on the active drug compared with 92 on placebo. The other study showed 73% had improvement compared with 44% in the placebo group: 67% of women had shown improvement compared with 39% in the vehicle only group.
    The results showed continued improvement with follow-up. However, benefit only lasted as long as the treatment was used. There was an improvement in the quality of life measurements. The adverse events were mild and transient.
  2. Study on long-term (12 month) safety in women with Vaniqa® with excessive facial hair.
    No serious side effects were seen. Discontinuation due to adverse events occurred in 1% of the study population, while mild side effects were reported in 42%.

The most frequent side effects reported were:

  • Dry skin 7.4%
  • Alopecia 6.5%
  • Acne 6.9%
  • Headache 6.0%
  • Pruritus 5.1%
  • Burning skin 4.6%
  • Stinging skin 4.2%
  • Ingrown hair 3.7%
  • Rash 3.2%
  • Tingling skin 3.2%
  • Erythema 2.3%
  • Edema 1.4%


Is Vaniqa® a prescription only drug?

Can Vaniqa® be used by non-Caucasian women?

Does Vaniqa® interact with other topical medications?
No interactions reported

Can Vaniqa® be used in conjunction with other hair removal methods?

Can Vaniqa® be used during pregnancy or breast feeding?
While there is no evidence to suggest a problem, it may be advisable to temporarily stop applying Vaniqa® during pregnancy or while breast feeding.

What is the optimal amount of Vaniqa® to apply?
A pea sized amount twice a day. Not more than 30g per month.

Can Vaniqa® be used in other parts of the body?
Vaniqa® is currently indicated only for use of unwanted facial hair.

Treatment of Hirsutism:

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