Androcur ( Cyproterone Acetate) side effects.

First, what happened to all the posts in this section? There was content here before, not just an empty category, I remember a specific thread posted to long ago on spironolactone, what happened to the content here ? Andrea?

Ok well I’m writing this as a bit of a warning. There’s a lot of personal information here too more than I really should be sharing but I think it relevant for people to understand what some of the drugs commonly prescribed for hairsute conditions. I dont feel the information on what some of these drugs can do to you is always conveyed by the doctors prescribing them. I hope in some small way my story gives people the pause necessary to be careful what they put into their bodies.

Some will note that Seana has not seemed quite “right” for a very long time now. I’ve had a tendancy to go off on people. . They would be right. I estimate it’s been 2 years since I’ve really been my old self.

As most of you know I am a transperson. Transpeople ( specifically female to male transpeople) are often prescribed drugs of 2 categories, Estrogen, and something called an antiandrogen. It’s an antiandrogens job to reduce the amount and effect of testosterone and to bring that down close to 0. There are a couple drugs that do this, one is something called Spironolactone which is what I started with initially. It can have some effects on blood pressure, and make you have to go to the bathroom more frequently. It doesnt work for all people In the US, this is your best option for an antiandrogen.

The other option , for those of us in Canada or in europe, is a drug called Androcur (Cyproterone Acetate). Now this drug absolutely nukes testosterone. It is one of the most if not the most effective antiandrogen out there. It was not designed as an antiandrogen, instead as Beate has pointed out before it was supposed to be a artifial form of progesterone , or a progestin. It didnt do a very good job as a progestin and was weak, however, it turned out to be a very strong antiandrogen and it is this it is used for most commonly.

I was put onto Androcur about a year into my hormone therapy.For no reason other than I was getting occasional dizzy spells when standing up from a crouch. I didnt think anything of it at the time and didnt consider what side effects could result. I was never warned of any side effects. My Doctor at the time has since retired but was usually forthcoming with information so I didnt see any cause for concern.

I very quickly spiralled into depression. I started going off on people. I had extremely negative thought patterns. I got anxiety attacks daily often multiple times a day. My marriage failed and I went into emergency shelter for a while. I still fought depression constantly, usually more in a cycle of being in deep depression than out of it. All this time I had absolutely no idea anything was wrong with me. My brain found a way to rationalize, the most irrational thoughts. My memory suffered. I slowly began to lose the relavance of time passing.

This past spring, after being begged to by my partner, I sought further advice from my new endocrinologist. I’d done some research and found that the Androcur i was on, does have the side effect of causing depression in SOME individuals. I will stress SOME because not everyone seems to have the near psychotic effects it has had on me. Now that research had seemed to indicate that the depressive effects of Androcur seemed to be most prominent at at higher doses like 50 mg, and that 10-15 mg seemed to be all that is required to have a complete antiandrogen effect in a typical mtf transperson.My Endocrinologist pointed out that only 50mg pills are available here in Canada. I understand 10 mg pills are available in europe.She also advised that Androcur had a 40 hour halflife. Her recommendation was to take 1/2 a 50 mg pill ( about 25 mg) every second day.

I began to go pretty much completely insane, every 48 hours on cue with taking my doseage, then slowly return to somewhat normal thought patterns the next day, then start the cycle again when I took my dose the next time. This went on for 3 months . Going off on people. Spiraling into depression and suicidal tendancies. Completely going off the wall. Others who have been on this drug have described to me extreme emotional disregulation, and a “brain fog” which I think is completely accurate. You also dont seem to be able to control your thought patterns, you can rationally think you are wrong,., but your brain refuses to accept that. I would say in a large part you are not even cognizant of why you seem to not be right and unable to do anything about it as long as you are on the drug.

So why do I mention all this psychobable here on a hair removal forum? IT isnt relavant is it? Well actually, yes it is. This same medication is used to combat hairsutism and acne. It’s important if you are taking it, that you be on the lookout for the side effects mentioned. It took me 2 years to figure out exactly what was doing it.I should have figured it out immediately, but I didnt.

Even a week off this drug has made a night and day difference. The negative effects are gone, and I’m left with just slowly overcome the damage I did to my life during my time on it.Brain fog is gone. No longer spiralling into nasty thought patterns.Rationality returns.

I hope this small warning helps someone out there.

Seana

Good to hear that You are recovering, Seana.

Just a quick addition: depressions can be caused by androcur already in pretty low doses. And depressions occur more often than reported. Steroid hormones (CPA is one) all have effects on the mind, natural progesterone as well as natural estradiol, and, of course, also testosterone.

I was set on androcur (50 mg daily) and i was lucky enough to reduce the dosis stepwise to zero. Against the physician, but my hormone values improved while i was dropping the antiandrogen.

That’s devil’s stuff.
Another dangerous synthetic hormone used in hormone replacement of transwomen as well as against hirsutism is Ethinylestradiol. Its dangerous side effect is cancer.

I know two young transwomen getting cancer from it (personally).

I switched back to Spiro until I can see my endocrinologist on the 8th. Most of the effects are gone which is a good thing, it’s been a hell of a week including tackling a burglar in my living room in the middle of the night in the nude, I kid you not. I probably could not have handled most of what I dealt with on the Androcur and I agree, devils stuff, most people dont realize what its doing to them and that is the scary part. We tried working down from 50, that’s when I started noticing I was cycling in and out every 48 hours.Just glad to be somewhat back to my old self.

Seana

I took Androcur for the hairs and after leaving it I had the worst acne of my life (then I had to have Roacutan). And yes, it makes you feel depressed.

Thanks, thanks, thank you Seana for talking about this issue and warn people.
I always thought that the high number of suicides among transwomen was not due to personal frustration or social intolerance. I suspected something during this difficult process was causing so many victims.

I knew years ago when several of my first no-trans clients were being treated with Androcur and Diane (Cyproterone Acetate) as therapy to combat hirsutism. They suffered from a deep depression that miraculously disappeared after discontinuation of hormone treatment.

So I can not help but feel fear and concern when someone decides to take this step. Even if I understand how important it is for them.
Really a feminine appearance is as important as to risk their lives?It seems that it is.

As far as I’m concerned, I can only feel admiration, empathy, and pray that this side effect never occurs.

I’ve talked to people Jossie that have made elaborate suicide plans, and talk about making plans with those around them, and think, this was completely normal. Until you took them off the drug.I really beat myself up over how long it took me to figure out, that it was that that was doing it. 2 years. You can do a lot of damage to your life if you arent thinking strait for 2 years. And, it doesnt do this to everyone, but to a large percentage of the people I know who take the drug currently or have. I dont miss the brain fog. I’m able to function so much better without it. The depression magically lifted when I stopped taking it. I only ever went on Androcur, because the spiro made me pee far too much and get dizzy standing up sometimes. I’ll take those side effects over crippling depression anytime thank you.