Non-Hormonal Treatment Options for Regulation of Menstrual Cycle in Adolescents with PCOS

J Clin Med. 2022 Dec 21;12(1):67. doi: 10.3390/jcm12010067.


Menstrual irregularities are one of the main clinical symptoms caused by polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS). Pharmacological treatment options for non-fertility indications to restore menstrual frequency play an important role in the management of PCOS. Oral contraceptive pills are commonly prescribed for adolescents with menstrual irregularities, however, when contraindicated or poorly tolerated, further pharmacological therapy is required. This systematic literature research aims to provide an overview concerning the effects of non-hormonal pharmacological treatment options on menstrual irregularities in adolescents suffering from PCOS. A systematic literature search in PubMed, Cochrane, Embase, Bio-SISS and Web of Science was performed, including literature from January 1998 to September 2022, using specific keywords in order to find related studies. n = 265 studies were identified of which n = 164 were eligible for further evaluation. Only four placebo-controlled studies were identified, with diverging inclusion and exclusion criteria. Available data on specific non-hormonal off-label use medication primarily consisted of metformin, Glucagon-like peptide 1 receptor agonists, thiazolidinediones, anti-androgen agents (spironolactone, finasteride, flutamide) and supplements (chromium picolinate, myo-inositol). However, only a few have partly pointed out beneficial effects on improving menstrual frequency in patients diagnosed with PCOS. In summary, metformin in dosages of 1500-2550 g/day, GLP-1-analogues and supplements were effective in regulation of menstrual cycles in adolescents diagnosed with PCOS. Menstrual frequency in adolescents with PCOS is essential to prevent hypoestrogenism with long-term consequences. In this context, MET is the most effective and cost- efficient in overweight adolescent girls, also showing beneficial effects in the regulation of insulin sensitivity, especially if COCs are contraindicated or not well-tolerated. Further studies are needed to evaluate therapies in lean and normal-weight girls with PCOS.

Keywords: GLP-1; menstrual cycle; menstruation; metformin; oligomenorrhea; polycystic ovary syndrome.

Publication types

  • Review

Grants and funding

This research received no external funding.