Long-term effect of metformin on metabolic parameters in the polycystic ovary syndrome

Diab Vasc Dis Res. 2009 Apr;6(2):110-9. doi: 10.1177/1479164109336050.


Insulin resistance is a central feature of the PCOS and may increase cardiovascular risk. Owing to insulin resistance, the metabolic syndrome is more prevalent in women with PCOS compared with unaffected women. Metformin improves the metabolic profile in PCOS in short-term studies. In this study, we evaluated the long-term effect of metformin on metabolic parameters in women with PCOS during routine care without a controlled diet.We performed a retrospective medical chart review of 70 women with PCOS receiving metformin from an academic endocrine clinic. Metabolic risk factors were compared before and after metformin treatment. Time trends of these metabolic parameters were also analysed. After a mean follow-up of 36.1 months with metformin treatment, improvements were observed for BMI (-1.09 +/- 3.48 kg/m2, p = 0.0117), diastolic blood pressure (-2.69 +/- 10.35 mmHg, p = 0.0378), and HDL cholesterol (+5.82 +/- 11.02 mg/dL, p <0.0001).The prevalence of metabolic syndrome decreased from 34.3% at baseline to 21.4% (p = 0.0495). The course of BMI reduction during metformin treatment was significantly more pronounced in women with PCOS with metabolic syndrome at baseline, compared with those without the metabolic syndrome (p = 0.0369 for interaction). In conclusion, metformin improved the metabolic profile of women with PCOS over 36.1 months, particularly in HDL cholesterol, diastolic blood pressure and BMI.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Blood Pressure / drug effects
  • Body Mass Index
  • Cholesterol, HDL / blood
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Hypoglycemic Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Insulin Resistance*
  • Metabolic Syndrome / drug therapy*
  • Metabolic Syndrome / etiology
  • Metabolic Syndrome / metabolism
  • Metabolic Syndrome / physiopathology
  • Metformin / therapeutic use*
  • Polycystic Ovary Syndrome / complications
  • Polycystic Ovary Syndrome / drug therapy*
  • Polycystic Ovary Syndrome / metabolism
  • Polycystic Ovary Syndrome / physiopathology
  • Prevalence
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Time Factors
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Young Adult


  • Cholesterol, HDL
  • Hypoglycemic Agents
  • Metformin