The treatment of infertile women with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is surrounded by many controversies. This paper describes, on the basis of the currently available evidence, the consensus reached by a group of experts regarding the therapeutic challenges raised in these women. Before any intervention is initiated, preconceptional counselling should be provided emphasizing the importance of life style, especially weight reduction and exercise in overweight women, smoking and alcohol consumption. The recommended first-line treatment for ovulation induction remains the anti-estrogen clomiphene citrate (CC). Recommended second-line intervention, should CC fail to result in pregnancy, is either exogenous gonadotrophins or laparoscopic ovarian surgery (LOS). The use of exogenous gonadotrophins is associated with increased chances for multiple pregnancy and, therefore, intense monitoring of ovarian response is required. LOS alone is usually effective in <50% of women and additional ovulation induction medication is required under those circumstances. Overall, ovulation induction (representing the CC, gonadotrophin paradigm) is reported to be highly effective with a cumulative singleton live birth rate of 72%. Recommended third-line treatment is in vitro fertilization. More patient-tailored approaches should be developed for ovulation induction based on initial screening characteristics of women with PCOS. Such approaches may result in deviation from the above mentioned first-, second- or third-line ovulation strategies in well-defined subsets of patients. Metformin use in PCOS should be restricted to women with glucose intolerance. Based on recent data available in the literature, the routine use of this drug in ovulation induction is not recommended. Insufficient evidence is currently available to recommend the clinical use of aromatase inhibitors for routine ovulation induction. Even singleton pregnancies in PCOS are associated with increased health risk for both the mother and the fetus.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Reproductive Medicine
- Obstetrics and Gynecology