Background: Insulin sensitizers have favourable metabolic and ovarian effects in polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS). This study examined rosiglitazone, a thiazolidinedione, in PCOS.
Methods: In a prospective, open-label study, the effects of rosiglitazone on metabolism and ovarian function were examined in 42 non-diabetic women with PCOS classified according to the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development criteria and insulin resistance (IR) by steady-state plasma glucose (SSPG) > or =10 mmol/l on octreotide-modified insulin suppression testing. Participants were randomized to rosiglitazone 2, 4 or 8 mg daily for 12 weeks. Endpoints included ovulation and menstrual pattern; serum testosterone, sex hormone-binding globulin (SHBG), and LH; and changes in IR and glucose-insulin responses on 8 h mixed-meal profile.
Results: After rosiglitazone 8 mg daily for 12 weeks, SSPG declined and insulinaemia fell by 46%; lower doses gave lesser effects. Serum LH, total and free testosterone were unchanged; SHBG increased. With rosiglitazone, ovulation occurred in 23/42 women (55%), without significant dose dependence. Both before and during treatment, ovulators on rosiglitazone had lower circulating insulin and free testosterone and higher SHBG than non-ovulators. Testosterone declined only in a subgroup of ovulators with early vaginal bleeding after starting rosiglitazone.
Conclusions: Rosiglitazone in insulin-resistant PCOS promoted ovulation and dose-dependently decreased IR and insulinaemia; ovulators had lower circulating insulin and testosterone.