Vaniqa is a prescription only medicine in the UK. The pharmaceutical company Almirall holds the UK license. The wholesale cost of Vaniqa to pharmacies is in the region of £60 for a 60 gram tube. Dr Fox adds a small prescription and dispensing fee to the wholesale price. Doctors check every order.
Cost of Vaniqa from Dr Fox
- 60 gram tube x 1: £72.50
- 60 gram tube x 2: £139.00
- 60 gram tube x 3: £206.00
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A 60 gram tube would normally be expected to last 2 months. Only a small amount of cream is required at each application. Vaniqa cream should be applied only to facial areas with excess hair growth, normally the top lip and the chin area. The cream will not work for hair growth in other areas of the body.
Does Vaniqa work?
Studies show 7 out of 10 women using Vaniqa for 24 weeks experience improvement. In 3 out of 10 women the improvement is marked.
There is no other cream licensed in the UK for the treatment of facial hair. Vaniqa is unique in the way it works. The active ingredient, eflornithine 11.5%, penetrates to the base of hair follicles. Eflornithine inhibits an enzyme involved in hair growth and reduces the speed of new hair growth.
Vaniqa is best used at the same time as hair removers. Hair needs to be removed, as Vaniqa itself does not remove hair. The cream stops and slows hair re-growth.
It takes between 8 weeks and 4 months for Vaniqa to start to work and works only if used regularly. Once Vaniqa cream usage is stopped, its effects wear-off over a period of about 2 months. Women who do not respond to treatment after 4 months should stop using Vaniqa.
Hormonal treatments for Hirsutism
Some women experience increased facial hair growth at the time of the menopause and around adolescents. There can be an increase in male hormones circulating at these times. Other women, who have a condition called polycystic ovaries (PCO), also have hormonal imbalances associated with increased facial hair. In addition to increased facial hair, women with PCO tend to have reduced fertility, irregular periods, acne and weight problems.
Hormonal imbalance can sometimes be treated with a contraceptive pill called Dianette or with a medicine called spironolactone. Women with PCO may respond to the diabetic tablet, metformin.
Vaniqa cream can be used at the same time as prescription tablets and will add to the effectiveness of other hair reduction treatments.
Consulting a doctor
It is important that women who are troubled by increased facial hair see their doctors for an assessment and advice. Adrenal and thyroid abnormalities may be present, and in very rare cases tumours can secrete hormones which cause excessive hair growth. Excessive facial hair growth in children would be of particular cause for concern.
Doctors may want to carry out tests and investigation and give advise about a range of hair reduction treatments. They may also need to deal with the emotional aspects of hirsutism.
Ethnic and family differences
Women of South Asian and Southern European origin are more prone to problems with facial hair. There is a genetic predisposition in these groups. There is usually no hormonal abnormality, although the possibility needs to be checked for by a doctor. Vaniqa cream is particularly suitable for these groups, where inheritance plays a part.
Women in some families are prone to increased facial hair. Again, there is usually no hormonal abnormality, and again, Vaniqa is normally an effective treatment.
Vaniqa side effects
Vaniqa cream is slightly oily and slightly irritant and therefore can cause spots, soreness, tingling and redness. In studies, non-active creams causes similar side effects, although Vaniqa is likely to be more of an irritant. Many women experience no side effects and it is unusual for treatment to need to be stopped because of side effects.
Very little of the active ingredient of Vaniqa s absorbed into the circulation, however, it is best to avoid use whilst pregnancy and breast feeding. There is no proven risk in pregnancy and the advice to avoid using Vaniqa in pregnancy is precautionary.
Cost of Vaniqa
Vaniqa is undoubtedly an expensive treatment, although a little cream goes a long way. Treatment needs to be continuous for it to work. The annual cost will be in the region of £400.00 if obtained from Dr Fox and considerably more from some other clinics.
Fake or generic Vaniqa
Because Vaniqa is expensive, it is copied and faked. For this reason women should buy Vaniqa only from regulated services. Dr Fox is regulated by the Care Quality Commission and The General Pharmaceutical Council.