Hirsute women should have androgen levels measured

NEWS IN BRIEF — Posted May 12, 2008

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Women with male pattern hair growth should have their androgen assessed, and oral contraceptives are appropriate treatment for the majority. If a patient is not satisfied with the results of that strategy, an antiandrogen can be added after six months, and lasers are recommended for hair removal, according to an Endocrine Society clinical practice guideline published last month in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism.

"Hirsutism is a potential indication of an underlying medical disorder that may require specific treatment, and such a disorder may have implications for menstrual function, fertility and metabolic risks," said Kathryn Martin, MD, lead author and co-director of the reproductive endocrine unit at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston.

The guidelines recommended against using an antiandrogen alone because of risks to male fetuses if the patient becomes pregnant. Evidence also is lacking to support the use of insulin-lowering drugs, which can have significant side effects.

Note: This item originally appeared at

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