Background: Women with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) are considered to be at increased risk of miscarriage. Since metformin has beneficial effects on the risk factors contributing to first-trimester abortion in PCOS patients, we hypothesized that metformin - owing to its metabolic, endocrine, vascular and anti-inflammatory effects - may reduce the incidence of first-trimester abortion in PCOS women.
Materials and methods: A prospective cohort study was set up to determine the beneficial effects of metformin on PCOS patients during pregnancy. Two hundred non-diabetic PCOS patients were evaluated while undergoing assisted reproduction. One hundred and twenty patients became pregnant while taking metformin, and continued taking metformin at a dose of 1000-2000 mg daily throughout pregnancy. Eighty women who discontinued metformin use at the time of conception or during pregnancy comprised the control group.
Results: Both groups were similar with respect to all background characteristics (age, body mass index, waist/hip ratio, follicle-stimulating hormone, luteinizing hormone, estradiol and dehydroepiandrosterone sulfate levels). Rates of early pregnancy loss in the metformin group were 11.6% compared with 36.3% in the control group (p < 0.0001; odds ratio = 0.23, 95% confidence interval 0.11-0.42).
Conclusions: Administration of metformin throughout pregnancy to women with PCOS was associated with a marked and significant reduction in the rate of early pregnancy loss.