Introduction: High levels of anti-Mullerian hormone and a high antral follicle count in women with polycystic ovary syndrome, reflecting increased ovarian antral follicles, predisposes them to have a high number of retrieved oocytes with in vitro fertilization (IVF)/intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI) and an increased risk of ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome. Inositols, which act as insulin sensitizers, have the potential to alter folliculogenesis and the functional ovarian reserve, with subsequent benefits to reproductive outcomes following IVF/ICSI treatment. Published literature is, however, unable to provide definitive evidence of its efficacy. The objective of our review was to evaluate the effect of inositols on anti-Mullerian hormone, antral follicle count and reproductive outcomes in women with polycystic ovary syndrome undergoing IVF/ICSI.
Material and methods: We performed a literature search using standard methodology recommended by Cochrane. Randomized controlled trials and non-randomized studies comparing inositols with no treatment, placebo or other treatment were included in the review. Using standard methodology recommended by Cochrane we pooled results using the random effects model; our findings were reported as relative risk or mean differences. PROSPERO registration: CRD42017082275.
Results: We included 18 trials. The primary outcome was a change in anti-Mullerian hormone and antral follicle count before and after treatment, for which data were unsuitable for meta-analysis. A narrative review showed no consistent direction or size of effect. A meta-analysis for the secondary outcomes showed no evidence of a significant difference between inositol and control groups for any outcome: number of oocytes (mean difference -0.39, 95% confidence interval [CI] -1.11 to 0.33), number of metaphase II oocytes (mean difference 0.29, 95% CI -0.83 to 1.40), number of top grade embryos (risk ratio [RR] 1.02, 95% CI 0.93-1.12), clinical pregnancy rate (RR 1.16, 95% CI 0.87-1.53), and risk of ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome (RR 0.73, 95% CI 0.39-1.37). The quality of evidence was assessed as very low.
Conclusions: There is insufficient evidence for an effect of inositols on ovarian reserve markers and to support their use as pretreatment before IVF/ICSI in women with polycystic ovary syndrome.
Keywords: anti-Mullerian hormone; antral follicle count; in vitro fertilization; inositol; intracytoplasmic sperm injection; polycystic ovary syndrome.
© 2019 Nordic Federation of Societies of Obstetrics and Gynecology.