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eflornithine (Topical route)

ef-LOR-ni-theen

Commonly used brand name(s)

In the U.S.

  • Vaniqa

Available Dosage Forms:

  • Cream

Therapeutic Class: Hair Growth Retardant

Pharmacologic Class: Ornithine Decarboxylase Inhibitor

Uses For eflornithine

Eflornithine is used to slow down bodily substances called enzymes that help hair grow. The effect is slower facial hair growth.

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Herbal and Dietary Supplements Deserve Your Attention

eflornithine is available only with your doctor's prescription.

Before Using eflornithine

In deciding to use a medicine, the risks of taking the medicine must be weighed against the good it will do. This is a decision you and your doctor will make. For eflornithine, the following should be considered:

Allergies

Tell your doctor if you have ever had any unusual or allergic reaction to eflornithine or any other medicines. Also tell your health care professional if you have any other types of allergies, such as to foods, dyes, preservatives, or animals. For non-prescription products, read the label or package ingredients carefully.

Pediatric

There is no specific information comparing use of eflornithine in children under the age of 12 years with use in other age groups. However, eflornithine is not expected to cause different side effects or problems in older children than it does in adults.

Geriatric

eflornithine has been tested and has not been shown to cause different side effects or problems in older people than it does in younger adults.

Interactions with Medicines

Although certain medicines should not be used together at all, in other cases two different medicines may be used together even if an interaction might occur. In these cases, your doctor may want to change the dose, or other precautions may be necessary. Tell your healthcare professional if you are taking any other prescription or nonprescription (over-the-counter [OTC]) medicine.

Interactions with Food/Tobacco/Alcohol

Certain medicines should not be used at or around the time of eating food or eating certain types of food since interactions may occur. Using alcohol or tobacco with certain medicines may also cause interactions to occur. Discuss with your healthcare professional the use of your medicine with food, alcohol, or tobacco.

Proper Use of eflornithine

eflornithine comes with a patient instruction sheet. Read this sheet carefully and follow the directions. If you have any questions on how to use eflornithine, be sure to ask your health care professional.

eflornithine is usually used on the face and nearby involved areas under the chin only. Do not get the medicine in your eyes, nose, or mouth. Rinse thoroughly with water and contact your doctor if the medicine gets in the eyes

You need to continue your normal hair removal procedures while using eflornithine, and the medicine should be applied at least five minutes after the unwanted hair has been removed. You should wait until the medicine dries before applying cosmetics or sunscreen.

Do not wash the treated areas for at least 4 hours after applying the medicine.

Dosing

The dose of eflornithine will be different for different patients. Follow your doctor's orders or the directions on the label. The following information includes only the average doses of eflornithine. If your dose is different, do not change it unless your doctor tells you to do so.

The amount of medicine that you take depends on the strength of the medicine. Also, the number of doses you take each day, the time allowed between doses, and the length of time you take the medicine depend on the medical problem for which you are using the medicine.

  • For topical dosage form (cream):
    • For reduced rate of facial hair growth in women.
      • Adults and children 12 years of age or older—Coat the problem areas on the face and nearby areas under the chin with the medicine two times a day with the second treatment coming at least eight hours after the first.
      • Children under 12 years of age—Use and dose must be determined by your doctor.

Missed Dose

If you miss a dose of eflornithine, apply it as soon as possible. However, if it is almost time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and go back to your regular dosing schedule.

Storage

Store the medicine in a closed container at room temperature, away from heat, moisture, and direct light. Keep from freezing.

Keep out of the reach of children.

Do not keep outdated medicine or medicine no longer needed.

Precautions While Using eflornithine

If skin irritation occurs, reduce the frequency of treatments. If irritation continues, stop using the medicine and contact your doctor.

If no improvement is seen after six months of treatment, stop using the medicine and contact your doctor.

If condition gets worse while you use the medicine, stop the medicine and contact your doctor.

eflornithine Side Effects

Some side effects may occur that usually do not need medical attention. These side effects may go away during treatment as your body adjusts to the medicine. Also, your health care professional may be able to tell you about ways to prevent or reduce some of these side effects. Check with your health care professional if any of the following side effects continue or are bothersome or if you have any questions about them:

More common
  • Acne
  • stinging skin
Less common
  • Burning or bleeding skin
  • chapped, red lips
  • chronic acne
  • hair bumps
  • numbness
  • rash
  • reddening of skin
  • swelling of lips
  • tingling skin

Other side effects not listed may also occur in some patients. If you notice any other effects, check with your healthcare professional.

Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to the FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.

See also: Side effects (in more detail)

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