A systemic type I 5 α-reductase inhibitor is ineffective in the treatment of acne vulgaris

James Leyden, Wilma Bergfeld, Lynn Drake, Frank Dunlap, Mitchel P. Goldman, Alice B. Gottlieb, Michael P. Heffernan, Janet G. Hickman, Maria Hordinsky, Michael Jarrett, Sewon Kang, Ann Lucky, Gary Peck, Tania Phillips, Marvin Rapaport, Janet Roberts, Ronald Savin, Marty E. Sawaya, Alan Shalita, Joel ShavinJames C. Shaw, Linda Stein, Daniel Stewart, John Strauss, James Swinehart, Leonard Swinyer, Diane Thiboutot, Ken Washenik, Gerald Weinstein, David Whiting, Frances Pappas, Matilde Sanchez, Lisa Terranella, Joanne Waldstreicher

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

46 Scopus citations


Excessive sebum production is a central aspect of the pathophysiology of acne vulgaris. Sebaceous gland function is under androgen control and it is hypothesized that dihydrotestosterone is formed by the action of 5 α-reductase. Type I is the controlling isoenzyme. This study describes a 3-month, multicenter, randomized, placebo-controlled clinical trial with a potent, selective inhibitor of type I 5 α-reductase used alone and in combination with systemic minocycline. Inhibition of type I 5 α-reductase was not associated with clinical improvement of acne when used alone and did not enhance the clinical benefit of systemic minocycline. These results indicate the need for further work at the molecular level to better understand the action of androgens on sebaceous gland function.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)443-447
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of the American Academy of Dermatology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2004
Externally publishedYes


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