Metformin versus lifestyle changes in treating women with polycystic ovary syndrome

Gynecol Endocrinol. 2012 Mar;28(3):182-5. doi: 10.3109/09513590.2011.583957. Epub 2012 Feb 6.


Objective: To compare the efficacy of metformin with that of lifestyle changes in patients with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS).

Design: Prospective, randomized clinical trial of 40 women with PCOS to analyze the effects of metformin and lifestyle intervention treatments on menstrual pattern and hormone and metabolic profile. The duration of treatment was 6 months. Statistical analysis was done using Student's t-test.

Results: Fifteen women in the metformin group and 12 in the lifestyle changes group completed the study. The menstrual pattern improved by ~67% in both groups. There was a significant decrease in waist circumference in the lifestyle changes group (101.8 ± 3.9 and 95.1 ± 3.6, at baseline and at 6 months of treatment, respectively; p < 0.001) and in body mass index (BMI) in both groups. The predictor of menstrual pattern improvement was BMI.

Conclusions: Both metformin and lifestyle changes may increase the number of menstrual cycles in PCOS. This effect was related to a decrease in BMI.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Body Mass Index
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Hypoglycemic Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Life Style*
  • Logistic Models
  • Menstrual Cycle
  • Metformin / therapeutic use*
  • Polycystic Ovary Syndrome / complications
  • Polycystic Ovary Syndrome / physiopathology
  • Polycystic Ovary Syndrome / therapy*
  • Prospective Studies
  • Testosterone / blood
  • Waist Circumference


  • Hypoglycemic Agents
  • Testosterone
  • Metformin