Background: Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is often characterized by chronic oligo- or anovulation (usually manifested as oligo- or amenorrhea), and hyperandrogenism. In addition, 30-40% of PCOS women have impaired glucose tolerance, and a defect in the insulin signaling pathway (inositol-containing phosphoglycan mediators) seems to be implicated in the pathogenesis of insulin resistance. PCOS patients are subfertile as a consequence of such ovulatory disorders and often need drugs, such as clomiphene citrate or follicle-stimulating hormone, for ovulation induction, which increases the risk of multiple pregnancy and ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome. We hypothesized that the administration of an isoform of inositol (myo-inositol), belonging to the vitamin B complex, would improve the insulin-receptor activity, restoring normal ovulatory function.
Materials and methods: Twenty-five PCOS women of childbearing age with oligo- or amenorrhea were enrolled in the study. Ovulatory disorder due to PCOS was apparently the only cause of infertility; no tubal defect or deficiency of male semen parameters was found. Myo-inositol combined with folic acid (Inofolic) 2 g twice a day was administered continuously. During an observation period of 6 months, ovulatory activity was monitored with ultrasound scan and hormonal profile, and the numbers of spontaneous menstrual cycles and eventually pregnancies were assessed.
Results: Twenty-two out of the 25 (88%) patients restored at least one spontaneous menstrual cycle during treatment, of whom 18 (72%) maintained normal ovulatory activity during the follow-up period. A total of 10 singleton pregnancies (40% of patients) were obtained. Nine clinical pregnancies were assessed with fetal heart beat at ultrasound scan. Two pregnancies evolved in spontaneous abortion.
Conclusion: Myo-inositol is a simple and safe treatment that is capable of restoring spontaneous ovarian activity and consequently fertility in most patients with PCOS. This therapy did not cause multiple pregnancy.