Vaniqa Cream (Eflornithine)
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Vaniqa (Eflornithine) Medication Information
Vaniqa (eflornithine) is a prescription cream used to treat unwanted facial hair in women, for areas on the face and under the chin only. It may be prescribed alone or in combination with other hair-removal treatments.
Hirsutism is the medical term for unwanted facial hair, and it affects 22% of women in North America. Hirsutism ranges from fine to coarse dark hair on the mustache and chin area.
Hirsutism has many possible causes, such as:
- high levels of male hormones (androgens)
- polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS)
- hormone problems
- certain medications
- in rare cases, cancer of the adrenal glands or ovary
- often runs in families
Women affected by unwanted facial hair may sometimes feel the need to remove hair as often as 2 to 3 times per week. A variety of hair-removal techniques are available such as plucking, waxing, depilatories, bleaching, shaving, electrolysis, laser, and intense pulsed light (IPL).
Vaniqa is not a hair removal product. Vaniqa is the only approved prescription skin cream that can slow the rate of facial hair growth.
Vaniqa comes in a 13.9% cream.
Apply a thin layer of cream to the affected areas of the face and under the chin twice daily, or as directed by your doctor. Rub in completely.
Don’t wash your face for at least 4 hours after applying Vaniqa.
Vaniqa is for external use only, and should only be applied to areas of the face and chin.
It isn’t known if Vaniqa is safe for use in pregnant or breastfeeding women.
Like all prescription products, Vaniqa has possible side effects. In clinical studies of Vaniqa, the most common side effect was acne, which occurred in 10 to 21% of people.
Other less frequent side effects may include:
- Stinging or burning
- Dry Skin
For more information about the side effects of Vaniqa, talk with your doctor or pharmacist.
Vaniqa has no known drug interactions.
However, wait until Vaniqa cream has dried before applying other products like sunscreen or cosmetics.
Store Vaniqa at room temperature (25℃/77℉).
- Vaniqa slows hair growth to improve the appearance of unwanted facial hair. Vaniqa does not work to remove hair.
- You can continue using other hair removal techniques with Vaniqa; however, wait at least 5 minutes after hair removal to apply Vaniqa.
- If your skin becomes irritated, apply Vaniqa less often (once a day instead of twice a day) until the irritation goes away.
How does Vaniqa work?
Enzymes in the hair follicles promote hair growth. Vaniqa blocks a specific enzyme, leading to slower hair growth. Vaniqa does not remove or permanently stop hair growth. You will still need to continue your current hair removal treatment, but you may be able to do it less often.
How fast will Vaniqa work?
Some people notice an improvement within 4 to 8 weeks after starting Vaniqa. For others, it may take longer. If no improvement is seen within 6 months, talk with your doctor about whether treatment should be stopped.
Will the effects of Vaniqa be permanent?
No, Vaniqa does not permanently slow hair growth. Hair in the treated area will return to its pre-treatment rate of hair growth about 8 weeks after stopping Vaniqa treatment.
- Vaniqa Prescribing Information. Madison, NJ: Allergan; 2020 https://www.allergan.com/products/vaniqa Accessed December 6, 2020.
- Shapiro J, Lui H. Treatments for unwanted facial hair. Skin Therapy Lett. 2005 Dec-2006 Jan;10(10):1-4. PMID: 16408139. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/16408139/ Accessed December 6, 2020.
- A.D.A.M. Medical Encyclopedia [Internet] Johns Creek (GA): Ebix, Inc., A.D.A.M; c1997-2020. Excessive or unwanted facial hair in women. [updated November 23, 2020] https://medlineplus.gov/ency/article/007622.htm Accessed December 6, 2020.
Author: Dr. Patricia Weiser, PharmD
Patricia Weiser, PharmD, is a licensed pharmacist and medical writer. She has clinical experience in community and hospital pharmacy. Patricia is a 2007 graduate of the University of Pittsburgh. She resides in Pennsylvania with her husband and two daughters.
The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.