Novel strategies in the management of polycystic ovary syndrome

Minerva Endocrinol. 2015 Sep;40(3):195-212. Epub 2015 Mar 17.


Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is a common endocrinopathy affecting reproductive-aged women. PCOS has been recognized as a syndrome combining reproductive and metabolic abnormalities with lifelong health implications. Cardiometabolic alterations require regular screening and effective and targeted lifestyle advice to lose weight as well as to prevent weight gain. Pharmacological therapy includes insulin-sensitizer drugs and agents that act directly on metabolic comorbidities, such as statins and antiobesity drugs. Bariatric surgery may be an option for severely obese women with PCOS Regarding reproductive aspects, ovulation induction with antiestrogens such as clomiphene citrate or letrozole is the first-line medical treatment. Exogenous gonadotropins and in vitro fertilization (IVF) are recommended as second-line treatment for anovulatory infertility. Laparoscopic ovarian diathermy may be used in special cases and metformin is no longer recommended for ovulation induction. Combined oral contraceptives (OCs) are the first-line treatment for the management of menstrual irregularities in women not seeking pregnancy, also providing endometrial protection and contraception. Progestin-only pills or cyclical progestins are recommended for those with contraindications to OCs. Metformin is also considered a second-line choice for improving menstrual cycles in women presenting insulin-resistance and dysglicemia. Hirsutism requires cosmetic procedures and medical treatment with OCs. More severe cases may need anti-androgen drugs added to the OCs. In conclusion, strategies regarding the management of reproductive issues in PCOS encompass a tailored approach to individual needs of each patient.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Clomiphene / administration & dosage
  • Contraceptives, Oral, Combined / therapeutic use*
  • Female
  • Fertility Agents, Female / therapeutic use
  • Fertilization in Vitro
  • Gonadotropins / administration & dosage
  • Hirsutism / etiology
  • Hirsutism / therapy
  • Humans
  • Infertility, Female / drug therapy
  • Infertility, Female / etiology
  • Infertility, Female / therapy*
  • Letrozole
  • Life Style*
  • Menstruation Disturbances / drug therapy*
  • Menstruation Disturbances / etiology
  • Metformin / administration & dosage
  • Nitriles / administration & dosage
  • Obesity / etiology
  • Obesity / therapy*
  • Ovulation Induction / methods*
  • Polycystic Ovary Syndrome / complications
  • Polycystic Ovary Syndrome / drug therapy*
  • Polycystic Ovary Syndrome / physiopathology
  • Precision Medicine
  • Pregnancy
  • Selective Estrogen Receptor Modulators / administration & dosage
  • Triazoles / administration & dosage
  • Weight Gain
  • Weight Loss*


  • Contraceptives, Oral, Combined
  • Fertility Agents, Female
  • Gonadotropins
  • Nitriles
  • Selective Estrogen Receptor Modulators
  • Triazoles
  • Clomiphene
  • Letrozole
  • Metformin