A randomized bilateral vehicle-controlled study of eflornithine cream combined with laser treatment versus laser treatment alone for facial hirsutism in women

J Am Acad Dermatol. 2007 Jul;57(1):54-9. doi: 10.1016/j.jaad.2006.09.025. Epub 2007 Jan 30.


Background and objective: Although there are a multitude of therapeutic modalities for removing unwanted facial hair in women, there is very little information on using the newer medical treatment approaches in combination. This study was designed to determine whether topical eflornithine can enhance the efficacy of laser hair removal.

Design: This was a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, right-left comparison study of eflornithine cream combined with laser treatment versus laser alone for treating unwanted hair on the upper lip in women. All subjects underwent treatment to the entire upper lip with a long pulse alexandrite laser (10-40 ms pulse duration) at fluences of 7 to 40 J/cm(2). Laser treatments were performed every 4 weeks for up to 6 sessions. Each patient also applied either eflornithine or placebo cream twice daily to each side of the upper lip in a double-blinded manner. Subjects were evaluated for safety by recording adverse events and for efficacy via (1) investigator global scoring, (2) patient self assessment, and (3) hair count analysis.

Results: Both treatment modalities were well tolerated by the 31 evaluable patients. All 3 outcome measures showed significantly better results in favor of eflornithine plus laser versus laser treatment alone. At the end of the study, complete or almost complete hair removal was achieved in 29 of 31 (93.5%) of the eflornithine-laser-treated sites versus 21 of 31 (67.9%) for the placebo cream-laser-treated sites (P = .021, McNemar test). Statistically significant differences in favor of eflornithine were likewise demonstrated at the final assessment through blinded patient grading (13/31 patients [41.9%] thought that the eflornithine was superior to placebo, P = .029, Poisson regression) and hair count analysis (P < .01, paired t test).

Limitations: This is a single-center study that did not determine whether the differences noted above last beyond 6 months.

Conclusions: On the basis of both investigator and patient assessments and hair count analysis, we have demonstrated that the addition of eflornithine to laser hair removal results in a more rapid and complete reduction of unwanted facial hair in women when the combination is used for up to 6 months.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Combined Modality Therapy
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Eflornithine / therapeutic use*
  • Female
  • Hair Removal / methods*
  • Hirsutism / therapy*
  • Humans
  • Lip
  • Low-Level Light Therapy*
  • Middle Aged
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Eflornithine