says women's facial hair cream cleared
Bristol-Myers Squibb Co. said that U.S. regulators have given
it approval to sell the first prescription medicine for inhibiting
the growth of unwanted facial hair in women, a twice - daily cream
The New York drugmaker, which is developing the cream in partnership
with Gillette Co., said Vaniqa was approved last week by the U.S.
Food and Drug Administration and would be available by prescription
in September. Vaniqa, which is dabbed on in the morning and evening,
inhibits an enzyme that hair follicles need to grow but takes about
two months to start showing results. Within six months, up to 60
percent of the patients who used it in clinical trials reported
a favorable difference compared with those given a placebo cream,
Bristol-Myers, best known for cancer and diabetes drugs, said an
estimated 41 million American women have unwanted facial hair and
a large number deal with it by regularly plucking, shaving, waxing
or using depilatory products that chemically melt away growth.
"Many women have facial hair that annoys them and it's usually
on the chin or upper lip, the sideburns or the neck," said
Marty Sawaya, a University of Miami adjunct professor and Bristol-Myers
consultant who helped supervise the Vaniqa trials.
"Those are the regions where women in our trials tended to
treat themselves with the Vaniqa cream, and with good results,"
Sawaya said, adding that about 5 percent of users reported mild
side effects such as stinging or irritation to skin.
Although Bristol-Myers will use its own sales force to promote
the cream among doctors, it and Boston-based personal care products
maker Gillette will otherwise co-promote the drug. They will share
profits, but exactly how has not been disclosed, said Bristol-Myers
spokeswoman Bonnie Jacobs.
Some analysts have previously predicted that the cream, which has
not been tested in men, could achieve annual sales of $200 million