What is Vaniqa?
Vaniqa® (eflornithine) is a prescription cream approved by the FDA in the
United States for treating excessive facial hair in women, which is often part of hirsutism. Vaniqa® seems to slow facial hair growth by interfering with the enzyme that promotes hair growth. Specifically, Vaniqa® causes irreversible inhibition of the enzyme ornithine decarboxylase, which is necessary for cell growth and division in mammals. Rapidly dividing cells, such as hair cells, appear to be most susceptible to the effects of the drug. It is not a depilatory.
Potential Vaniqa® side effects
The most commonly reported side effects of Vaniqa® are skin reactions. Avoid getting Vaniqa® on damaged skin, in your eyes, or inside your mouth or nose. The skin reactions are temporary and include stinging, tingling, burning, redness, and skin bumps caused by ingrown hairs. Acne may worsen with Vaniqa® use as well. If any of these side effects become bothersome or get worse, contact your doctor. Pregnant women and nursing mothers should consult their physicians before using Vaniqa®. Children under the age of 12 years should not use this medicine.
How to apply Vaniqa®
When using Vaniqa®, a thin layer of medication should be applied twice daily, at least 8 hours apart to the affected area of the face and adjacent involved areas under the chin, or as directed by your physician. Vaniqa® should be rubbed in thoroughly. After applying Vaniqa®, do not wash the treated area for at least 4 hours.
You can continue to use Vaniqa®. Vaniqa® should be applied at least 5 minutes after hair removal. Cosmetics or sunscreens can be applied over treated areas after the cream has dried.
Vaniqa® has only been studied on the face and adjacent involved areas under the chin, and usage should be limited to those areas. Improvement was often seen in as few as four to eight weeks of treatment. After discontinuing Vaniqa® treatment, facial hair growth approached pre-treatment levels within eight weeks.