Context: Although metformin has been shown to be effective in the treatment of anovulation in women with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), clomiphene citrate (CC) is still considered to be the first-line drug to induce ovulation in these patients.
Objective: The goal of this study was to compare the effectiveness of metformin and CC administration as a first-line treatment in anovulatory women with PCOS.
Design: We describe a prospective parallel randomized, double-blind, double-dummy controlled clinical trial.
Setting: The study was conducted at the University "Magna Graecia" of Catanzaro, Catanzaro, Italy.
Patients: One hundred nonobese primary infertile anovulatory women with PCOS participated.
Interventions: We administered metformin cloridrate (850 mg twice daily) plus placebo (group A) or placebo plus CC (150 mg for 5 d from the third day of a progesterone withdrawal bleeding) (group B) for 6 months each.
Mean outcome measures: The main outcome measures were ovulation, pregnancy, abortion, and live-birth rates.
Results: The subjects of groups A (n = 45) and B (n = 47) were studied for a total of 205 and 221 cycles, respectively. The ovulation rate was not statistically different between either treatment group (62.9 vs. 67.0%, P = 0.38), whereas the pregnancy rate was significantly higher in group A than group B (15.1 vs. 7.2%, P = 0.009). The difference found between groups A and B regarding the abortion rate was significant (9.7 vs. 37.5%, P = 0.045), whereas a positive trend was observed for the live-birth rate (83.9 vs. 56.3%, P = 0.07). The cumulative pregnancy rate was significantly higher in group A than group B (68.9 vs. 34.0%, P < 0.001).
Conclusions: Six-month metformin administration is significantly more effective than six-cycle CC treatment in improving fertility in anovulatory nonobese PCOS women.