Vaniqa cream contains the active ingredient eflornithine, which is used to reduce the rate of unwanted facial hair growth in women. This is a condition called hirsutism.
The unwanted hair usually grows around the lips or under the chin. It may be associated with hormonal conditions such as polycystic ovary syndrome, or with treatment with certain medicines.
Eflornithine works by blocking the action of an enzyme called ornithine decarboxylase. This is an enzyme found in hair follicles and is needed for hair to grow. By blocking this enzyme, Vaniqa slows down hair growth. The cream is applied to the affected areas of skin to reduce the growth of unwanted hair.
Eflornithine only slows down the growth of unwanted hair. It does not actually remove hair, so another method for hair removal such as plucking or shaving may need to be continued while using Vaniqa cream.
The benefit of using Vaniqa cream may be seen within two months after starting the treatment. If no improvement is seen after four months then treatment should be stopped.
You will need to keep using Vaniqa cream regularly once the benefits of reduced hair growth on the face have been seen. If treatment is stopped then re-growth is likely to occur within two months.
Vaniqa cream should be applied to the affected areas of the face and under the chin twice a day, at least eight hours apart.
Clean and dry the affected areas of skin first, then apply the cream in a thin layer. Rub it in thoroughly until you can't see it.
Don't apply the cream immediately after removing hair. You should wait for at least five minutes before applying Vaniqa if you have shaved, plucked or used hair removal creams on the area, as otherwise the cream could cause burning or stinging.
Avoid applying the cream to skin that is broken or irritated.
Take care to avoid getting the cream inside your mouth or nose, or in your eyes. Rinse the area with cold water if accidental contact occurs.
Wash your hands after applying the cream.
For maximum effect, you should not clean the treated area of skin within four hours of applying the cream. You can use cosmetics (including sunscreens) on the treated areas, but don’t apply them for at least five minutes after you have applied the cream.
Medicines and their possible side effects can affect individual people in different ways. Just because a side effect is stated here, it does not mean that all people using this medicine will experience that or any side effect. The following are some of the side effects that are known to be associated with Vaniqa.
Common (affect between 1 in 10 and 1 in 100 people):
- Burning, stinging or tingling skin.
- Dry skin.
- Redness of the skin.
- Inflammation of the hair follicles (folliculitis).
Uncommon (affect between 1 in 100 and 1 in 1000 people):
- Ingrown hair.
- Swelling of the face or mouth.
- Cold sores.
- Reduced skin pigmentation.
- Abnormal hair texture and growth.
- Skin bleeding or blistering.
- Numb lips.
The side effects listed above may not include all of the side effects reported by the medicine's manufacturer.
For more information about any other possible risks associated with Vaniqa, please read the information provided with the medicine or consult your doctor or pharmacist.
Vaniqa cream is for external use on the skin only. It should only be used on the face and under the chin.
If your skin becomes irritated by the cream you should try using it once a day. If the irritation persists, stop using the cream and consult your doctor.
Excessive hair growth due to underlying diseases needs to be investigated and treated before using Vaniqa.
Vaniqa should be used with caution in:
- Women with decreased kidney or liver function.
Vaniqa should NOT be used in:
- Girls aged under 18 years.
This medicine should not be used if you are allergic to one or any of its ingredients. Please inform your doctor or pharmacist if you have previously experienced such an allergy.
If you feel you have experienced an allergic reaction, stop using Vaniqa and inform your doctor or pharmacist immediately.
The patient information leaflet (PIL) is a leaflet containing specific information about medical conditions, doses and side effects. You can download a copy of the PIL here:
Patient Info Leaflet