Anti-androgen treatment in women with acne: a controlled trial

Br J Dermatol. 1986 Jun;114(6):705-16. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2133.1986.tb04880.x.


Ninety female patients with acne were allocated randomly to one of three groups and treated either with Diane, a high dose cyproterone acetate (CPA) regime with ethinyloestradiol, or Minovlar. The same dose of oestrogen was common to all three treatment groups. Patients were assessed every 2 months for 6 months, by grading for severity of the acne, lesion counts and photography, and subjectively using a visual analogue scale. In addition, bacteriological sampling and sebum excretion rate (SER) measurements were performed. The results showed a clinical improvement in all three treatment groups, but a more rapid and complete response was seen in those groups who received CPA. There was also a consistent trend suggesting a more favourable response in those in the high dose CPA group. Although there was a marked reduction in SER in the groups treated with CPA, there was no correlation between reduction in SER and clinical improvement in individuals, nor could a reduction in the surface bacterial population be shown to be a primary event in the success of anti-androgen therapy. We have shown that the addition of CPA to oestrogen adds significantly to the therapeutic effect in acne and that anti-androgen and oestrogen combinations are more effective than standard oestrogen and progestagen contraceptive pills.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Acne Vulgaris / drug therapy*
  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Androgen Antagonists / therapeutic use*
  • Clinical Trials as Topic
  • Cyproterone / analogs & derivatives*
  • Cyproterone / therapeutic use
  • Cyproterone Acetate
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Drug Combinations / therapeutic use
  • Drug Therapy, Combination
  • Ethinyl Estradiol / therapeutic use
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Norethindrone / analogs & derivatives
  • Norethindrone / therapeutic use
  • Norethindrone Acetate
  • Random Allocation


  • Androgen Antagonists
  • Drug Combinations
  • Ethinyl Estradiol
  • Cyproterone Acetate
  • Cyproterone acetate, ethinyl estradiol drug combination
  • Norethindrone Acetate
  • Cyproterone
  • Norethindrone