Contemporary medical therapy for polycystic ovary syndrome

M. S.M. Lanham, D. I. Lebovic, S. E. Domino

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

21 Scopus citations


Polycystic ovary syndrome is a multi-system endocrinopathy with long-term metabolic and cardiovascular health consequences. Patients typically present due to symptoms of irregular menstruation, hair growth, or infertility; however, recent management options are aimed at further treating underlying glucose-insulin abnormalities as well as androgen excess for proactive control of symptoms. By a 2003 international consensus conference, diagnosis is made by two out of three criteria: chronic oligoovulation or anovulation after excluding secondary causes, clinical or biochemical evidence of hyperandrogenism (but not necessarily hirsutism due to inter-patient variability in hair follicle sensitivity), and radiological evidence of polycystic ovaries. Traditional medical treatment options include oral contraceptive pills, cyclic progestins, ovulation induction, and anti-androgenic medications (aldosterone antagonist, 5α-reductase antagonist, and follicle ornithine decarboxylase inhibitor). Recent pharmacotherapies include insulin-sensitizing medications metformin and two thiazolidinediones (rosiglitazone/Avandia® and pioglitazone/Actos®), a CYP19 aromatase inhibitor (letrozole/Femara®), and statins to potentially lower testosterone levels.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)236-241
Number of pages6
JournalInternational Journal of Gynecology and Obstetrics
Issue number3
StatePublished - Dec 2006


  • Insulin resistance
  • Insulin sensitizing medicines
  • Polycystic ovaries


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