Hair disorders

Topical cidofovir: a good drug to prevent beard hair growth?


It has been previously reported that topical cidofovir, a well-known antiviral agent, can induce local alopecia. Regarding this issue,  Dr. Joy Wan et al have recently published a paper in the Archives of Dermatology with the objective to determine the efficacy and safety of topical cidofovir in preventing beard hair growth in men. To do so the authors enrolled 20 young and healthy men to receive once daily cidofovir, either the 1% or 3% concentration, or placebo, randomly to one or the other side of the face. 4 subjects withdrew during treatment due to reasons unrelated with the study and 16 subjects completed treatment.

The authors documented a negative trend in hair counts within the 3% group compared with placebo (P=.08). Regarding side effects, local skin reactions such as erythema, hyperpigmentation and pruritus were observed, but they did not force stopping therapy and they resolved spontaneously or with little interventions after stopping therapy. Renal and liver function tests were performed without significant anomalies.

In conclusion, Dr. Wan J. and collaborators underline that these preliminary data suggest a dose-response relationship and open the door to study in greater depth optimal treatment doses and duration of therapy. Moreover, topical cidofovir was well tolerated with an acceptable incidence and severity of local skin reactions. Of course the study is limited by the small sample and by the fact that only men were enrolled, but it focuses on a field of growing interest and with thousands of potential users: developing efficacious treatments for unwanted facial hair.


Arch Dermatol. 2012 Feb;148(2):257-9.

A Randomized, Double-blind, Placebo-Controlled Proof of Concept Trial of Topical Cidofovir, 1% and 3%, for the Prevention of Beard Hair Growth in Men.

Wan JVittorio CCAbuabara KKurd SKMusiek ASteinemann JMGelfand JM.
















Latanoprost. A new treatment for androgenetic alopecia?.


Latanoprost is a prostaglandin F2alfa analogue with a widespread use in the treatment of ocular hypertension. It is well known that latanoprost  can provoke eyelash pigmentation and increase the thickness, length and number of the eyelashes. On the contrary, very little is known about the effects latanoprost may have on scalp hair growth and pigmentation. In a recent issue of the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology, Dr. Blume-Peytavi and collaborators published an original study focusing on the efficacy of latanoprost on scalp hair growth and pigmentation:

A randomized double-blind placebo-controlled pilot study to assess the efficacy of a 24-week topical treatment by latanoprost 0.1% on hair growth and pigmentation in healthy volunteers with androgenetic alopecia.

Blume-Peytavi U, Lönnfors S, Hillmann K, Bartels NG.

J Am Acad Dermatol. 2011 Aug 27. PMID: 21875758

The authors performed a mono-center, double-blind, randomized study, enrolling 16 men suffering from mild androgenetic alopecia (AA) (Hamilton II-III). During 24 weeks the patients applied a daily drop of latanoprost 0.1% solution on an investigational mini-zone, and placebo on the control symmetric location.

At the end of the study hair density at the latanoprost-treated site was significantly higher when compared with both placebo and baseline. Tolerance was good, although erythema was observed in 5 subjects.

These promising effects make this article a very interesting one, due to its potential future implications in the management of alopecia, a very frequent disorder. Of course, this is a pilot study that has only included 16 young men with early-stage AA, and therefore further studies are needed to confirm these results.