Should patients with polycystic ovarian syndrome be treated with metformin? A note of cautious optimism
Lis Maternity Hospital, Tel Aviv (Sourasky) Medical Centre, Tel Aviv 64239, Israel (affiliated to the Sackler School of Medicine, Tel Aviv University). E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Hyperinsulinaemia has proved to be a key link in the enigmatic generation of the symptoms of polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS), i.e. anovulatory infertility and the skin stigmata induced by hyperandrogenism. Regression of these symptoms may be achieved by reducing the hyperinsulinaemia. As obesity exaggerates the expression of the symptoms induced by hyperinsulinaemia, a low calorie diet and lifestyle change resulting in loss of weight for obese women with PCOS is capable of reversing these symptoms. Insulin-sensitizing agents, predominately metformin, have been examined for their ability, in all patients with PCOS, to achieve similar beneficial changes to those induced by loss of weight in the obese. While the scientific value of many of these studies is questionable and solid evidence of efficiency and safety is not complete, the honourable intent of lowering high insulin levels in this way prompts the bottom line of this debate to strike a note of cautious optimism that insulin-sensitizing agents will be of some clinical usefulness both in the short-term aiding of infertility treatment and, possibly, in the prevention of the long-term sequelae for this troublesome and very prevalent condition.
Human Reproduction, Vol. 17, No. 4, 853-856, April 2002
© 2002 European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology