Pharmacologic treatment of polycystic ovary syndrome

Semin Reprod Med. 2003 Aug;21(3):277-83. doi: 10.1055/s-2003-43305.


Women with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) most often seek treatment for reduction of hair growth and/or acne, restoration of menstrual cyclicity, and infertility. In addition, these patients are increasingly seeking advise and treatment for the metabolic abnormalities related to PCOS (e.g., insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes). In this review, we outline the pathophysiologic events underlying the cutaneous manifestations of androgen excess and provide a rationale for use of the various pharmacologic agents available for treatment. Options for the treatment of the reproductive abnormalities (menstrual dysfunction and interfility) are presented. Finally, the metabolic manifestations of PCOS are reviewed and their treatment is discussed.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Acne Vulgaris / drug therapy
  • Acne Vulgaris / etiology
  • Amenorrhea / drug therapy
  • Amenorrhea / etiology
  • Female
  • Glucose Intolerance / drug therapy
  • Hirsutism / drug therapy
  • Hirsutism / etiology
  • Humans
  • Infertility, Female / drug therapy
  • Infertility, Female / etiology
  • Insulin Resistance
  • Oligomenorrhea / drug therapy
  • Oligomenorrhea / etiology
  • Polycystic Ovary Syndrome / complications
  • Polycystic Ovary Syndrome / drug therapy*