How does Vaniqa work?
Vaniqa cream, containing Eflornithine, is used to treat excessive facial hair growth in women over 18. It is a prescription medicine. Vaniqa is not a hair remover, but works by reducing new hair growth and regrowth. Vaniqa works at the level of hair follicles by reducing the activity of an enzyme involved in hair growth.
What causes female facial hair?
Hirsutism may be a family trait, but it can also be caused by medical conditions, such as over active thyroid, polycystic ovaries, and as a side effect of some prescription medicines. Always consult a doctor before treatment.
Women should not assume their hirsutism is natural for them. They should get a check-up with a doctor before treatment. Hirsutism is more common in women of Southern Mediterranean and SE Asian origin.
Prescription medicines associated with hirsutism include cyclosporin, minoxidil, glucocorticoids - also known as steroids, phenobarbitone and phenytoin used to treat seizures, and some but not all, hormone replacements and contraceptive pills.
The Dr Fox online consultation carries out checks for suitability. Women who are sensitive to Vaniqa, or have a history of kidney or liver disease may not be able to use Vaniqa.
Consult a doctor if you are using other skin preparations at the same time.
How to use
Apply a pea-sized amount (approx 25mg) of cream twice daily to clean dry skin of the face and rub it in until no longer visible. Leave at least 8 hours between applications. If irritation occurs, reduce application to once daily. See a doctor if irritation persists. Avoid contact with the mouth, inner nose and eyes. Wait 5 mins before applying makeup and other skin preparations. Leave for at least 4 hours before washing off.
Use only on affected area, usually the chin, cheeks, and upper lip.
If Vaniqa is accidentally swallowed, in anything but a smear of cream, consult a doctor.
What to expect from treatment
Vaniqa does not remove existing hair. It slows down new growth and regrowth. Hair removal, for example by plucking or shaving, should be continued.
It can take up to 8 weeks for results. If after 4 months there is no improvement, Vaniqa should be stopped and a doctor consulted.
Vaniqa's effects wear off after 8 weeks of stopping treatment. To maintain the effect, Vaniqa must be used continuously.
Side effects of Vaniqa
Side effects, if they occur, are usually topical, usually occurring at the site the cream is applied, and usually resolving once treatment is discontinued.
A full list can be found at in the manufacturer's Patient Information Leaflet.
The commonest side effect, occurring in up to 1 in 10 women, is acne. Also common, occurring in up to 1 in 100 are; dry skin, hair loss, inflammation, itching, rash, redness, and stinging and tingling. Other side effects are less common.
Any side effects which occur should be discussed with a doctor or pharmacist.
Do any drugs/medicines interfere with Vaniqa?
No drug interaction studies have been undertaken, so this is unknown. However as Vaniqa is a local treatment and only small amounts are absorbed into the body, drug interactions are very unlikely. Vaniqa will not affect your contraception.
Pregnancy and breastfeeding
Do not use Vaniqa if you are pregnant or breastfeeding. Alternative treatments should be used.
Patient information leaflet
The 'Patient Information Leaflet' supplied with medication must be read before using.