Androgens and acne: perspectives on clascoterone, the first topical androgen receptor antagonist

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Introduction: Increased circulating androgens are key to the multifactorial pathogenesis of acne. Clascoterone is the first topical androgen antagonist developed to treat acne in both male and female patients and the first such agent to receive U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval for treatment of acne. Androgens directly stimulate sebaceous gland growth and increased sebum production, creating a nourishing medium in which anaerobic Cutibacterium acnes (C. acnes) bacteria flourish. Androgens may directly contribute to inflammation in the sebaceous gland. Areas covered: In this review, the author assesses clascoterone’s potential role in the management of acne. With a 4-ring backbone identical to dihydrotestosterone (DHT) and spironolactone, topically applied clascoterone binds androgen receptors (ARs) in the sebaceous glands and hair follicles, interfering with the pathogenesis of acne and reducing acne lesions with no reported systemic effects. Expert opinion: Phase III study results confirmed the safety and efficacy of topical clascoterone for acne, with considerable reductions in absolute non-inflammatory and inflammatory lesion counts at week 12. The approval of a first-in-class topical androgen antagonist is indeed a ‘game-changer’ for acne management. This topical agent is expected to be quickly adopted in clinical practice, likely within combination regiments, yet to be formally evaluated.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1801-1806
Number of pages6
JournalExpert Opinion on Pharmacotherapy
Issue number13
StatePublished - 2021


  • Acne vulgaris
  • C. acnes
  • androgen receptors
  • clascoterone
  • hormones/hormonal modulation
  • inflammatory lesions
  • topical therapy


Dive into the research topics of 'Androgens and acne: perspectives on clascoterone, the first topical androgen receptor antagonist'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this