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Written for dermatologists by dermatologists. Indexed by the US National Library of Medicine.
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Using Androgen Blockers for Acne Treatment

Anti-androgens are drugs that block the receptors which allow your body’s cells to absorb the male hormones. There are also drugs called androgen inhibitors that reduce the effects of androgens without actually blocking testosterone. An example of this is finasteride, which inhibits an enzyme called 5-alpha-reductase. This enzyme helps your body to make testosterone and dihydrotestosterone. These drugs are not widely used in North America except for cyproterone acetate.


  • Cyproterone acetate
  • Spironolactone
  • Flutamide
  • Progesterone
  • Cimetidine

Androgen Inhibitors:

  • Contraceptive pills
  • Finasteride
  • Ketoconazole

Side Effects:

  • Menstrual irregularity

Patients Should Not Use This Drug If They:

  • Are pregnant
  • Have renal insufficiency
  • Have abnormal menstrual bleeding
They should avoid ACE inhibitors, because this increases the risk of Hyperkalemia (high potassium).

Or if they have a personal or family history of the following:
  • Ovarian cancer
  • Breast cancer
  • Uterine cancer