Green-top Guideline LONG-TERM CONSEQUENCES OF POLYCYSTIC OVARY SYNDROME
This is the second edition of this guideline, which was previously published in May 2003 under the same title. Purpose and scope
This guideline has been produced to provide information, based on clinical evidence, to assist clinicians with
a special interest and for updating the generalist who manages women with polycystic ovary syndrome, to
allow them to advise women about the long-term health consequences of the syndrome. This guideline does
not cover infertility associated with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), which has been extensively reviewed
PCOS is a common disorder, often complicated by chronic anovulatory infertility and hyperandrogenism with
the clinical manifestation of oligomenorrhoea, hirsutism and acne.3 Many women with this condition are
obese and have a higher prevalence of impaired glucose tolerance, type 2 diabetes and sleep apnoea than is
observed in the general population. They exhibit an adverse cardiovascular risk profile, characteristic of the
cardiometabolic syndrome as suggested by a higher reported incidence of hypertension, dyslipidaemia,
visceral obesity, insulin resistance and hyperinsulinaemia.4 PCOS is frequently diagnosed by gynaecologists
and it is therefore important that there is a good understanding of the long-term implications of the diagnosis
in order to offer a holistic approach to the disorder. Identification and assessment of evidence
This RCOG guideline was developed in accordance with standard methodology for producing RCOG Green-
top Guidelines. The Cochrane Library (including the Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, DARE and
EMBASE), TRIP, Medline and PubMed (electronic databases) were searched for relevant randomised controlled
trials, systematic reviews and meta-analyses. The search was restricted to articles published between 1966 and
October 2006. The databases were searched using the relevant MeSH terms including all subheadings and this
was combined with a keyword search. MeSH heading search included ‘polycystic ovary’, ‘metabolic’,
‘diabetes’, ‘cardiovascular’ and ‘glitazone’ and the search limited to humans and the English language. The
computer search was complemented by hand searching from original references and reviews.
The definitions of the types of evidence used in this guideline originate from the US Agency for Health Care
Policy and Research. Where possible, recommendations are based on, and explicitly linked to, the evidence
that supports them. Areas lacking evidence are highlighted and annotated as ‘Good Practice Points’. Prevalence of PCOS
Estimation of the ‘true’ prevalence has to be made with caution as many of the data available were collected
prior to the new Rotterdam diagnostic criteria. Most clinical data suggests a prevalence of 6–7% of the
population.5–8 The present Rotterdam criteria are current best practice but it is recognised that PCOS
encompasses a wide spectrum of disorder, overlapping with normality.
The prevalence of PCOS may differ according to ethnic background; for example, in women of South Asian
origin, PCOS presents at a younger age, has more severe symptoms and a higher prevalence.9,10
Diagnosis Diagnosis of PCOS can only be made when other aetiologies have been excluded (thyroid dysfunction, congenital adrenal hyperplasia, hyperprolactinaemia, androgen-secreting tumours and Cushing syndrome). A consensus definition using precise diagnostic criteria should be used when diagnosing PCOS to facilitate effective patient care and robust clinical research.
The National Institutes of Health (NIH) 1990 preliminary consensus definition has now been replaced by a
more recent definition by the Rotterdam European Society for Human Reproduction and Embryology
(ESHRE) and the American Society of Reproductive Medicine (ASRM) PCOS Consensus Workshop Group.11
This has suggested a broader definition for PCOS, with two of the three following criteria being diagnostic of
polycystic ovaries (either 12 or more peripheral follicles or increased ovarian volume (greater than 10 cm3)
clinical and/or biochemical signs of hyperandrogenism.
A raised luteinising hormone/follicle-stimulating hormone ratio is no longer a diagnostic criteria
for PCOS owing to its inconsistency.12 It should be noted that the diagnosis of PCOS can only be
made when other aetiologies have been excluded. The recommended baseline screening tests
are thyroid function tests, a serum prolactin and a free androgen index (total testosterone divided
by sex hormone binding globulin (SHBG) x 100 to give a calculated free testosterone level). In
cases of clinical evidence of hyperandrogenism and total testosterone greater than 5 nmol/l,
17-hydroxyprogesterone should be sampled and androgen-secreting tumours excluded. If there is
a clinical suspicion of Cushing syndrome, this should be investigated according to local practice.
These new diagnostic criteria have affected the value of a number of systematic reviews, as the majority of
the reviews are based on the NIH 1990 criteria, which may not be entirely representative of those patients
diagnosed by the new Rotterdam criteria in use today, in particular where ultrasound was used as the main
Counselling Women diagnosed with PCOS should be informed of the possible long-term risks to health that are associated with their condition. They should be advised regarding weight control and exercise. Long-term consequences 7.1 Metabolic consequences of PCOSWhat is the risk of developing type II diabetes in women with PCOS?Women presenting with PCOS, particularly if they are obese (body mass index greater than 30), have a strong family history of type 2 diabetes or are over the age of 40 years, are at increased risk of type 2 diabetes and should be offered a glucose tolerance test.
Insulin resistance in PCOS has been linked to later development of impaired glucose tolerance and
type 2 diabetes.13 Evidence from small long-term cohort studies, case–control studies and case
series points to a risk of type 2 diabetes in middle age of 10–20%,14–16 with a high rate of impaired
glucose tolerance, suggesting that further cases of diabetes will develop later. Increased body mass,
particularly truncal obesity, and a strong family history of diabetes (up to 83% in one study) increase
the risk of developing type 2 diabetes in the presence of polycystic ovary phenotype.16 However,
the frequency of type 2 diabetes is also increased in women with PCOS who are not obese (body
mass index less than 27 kg/m2),15,16 suggesting that PCOS is an independent risk factor for type 2
diabetes in middle age. A sensible approach to ensuring early detection of diabetes might be to offer
screening to women with PCOS with measurement of fasting blood glucose, on a regular basis,
perhaps annually. However, if the fasting blood glucose is 5.6 mmol/l or greater, body mass index is
greater than 30 or a strong family history of diabetes, then an oral glucose tolerance test should be
arranged. Although fasting glucose was poorly discriminatory for type 2 diabetes in studies to date,
it is a more appropriate test for routine screening. Fasting insulin and HOMA-IR are not measured
routinely in clinical practice in the UK and exhibit considerable variability that limits their
usefulness only to population-based studies. These tests are not sensitive enough to be useful in
individual cases and are not included in the diagnosis of the condition.
Guidance on the management of diabetes in pregnancy is available in the National Institute for Health and
Clinical Excellence guideline, Diabetes in pregnancy: management of diabetes and its complications frompre-conception to the postnatal period (expected publication date March 2008). 7.2 PCOS and obstructive sleep apnoeaWhat is the risk of developing sleep apnoea in women with PCOS?Women diagnosed with PCOS (or their partners) should be asked about snoring and daytime fatigue/somnolence and informed of the possible risk of sleep apnoea, and offered investigation and treatment when necessary.
Sleep apnoea is an independent cardiovascular risk factor and has been found to be more common
in PCOS. The difference in prevalence of sleep apnoea between PCOS and controls remained
significant even when controlled for BMI.17,18 It has been reported that the strongest predictors for
sleep apnoea were fasting plasma insulin levels and glucose-to-insulin ratios.19
What is the risk of developing cardiovascular disease in women with PCOS?Clinicians need to be aware that conventional cardiovascular risk calculators have not been validated in women with PCOS. In clinical practice, hypertension should be treated but lipid-lowering treatment is not recommended routinely and should only be prescribed by a specialist.
While it seems prudent to assess the cardiovascular risk factors of a woman with PCOS (including
measurement of blood pressure, cholesterol, triglycerides and high-density lipoprotein cholesterol), it should
be borne in mind that the conventional cardiovascular risk calculators have not been validated in this group.
It has been suggested that women with PCOS may have a higher cardiovascular risk than weight-matched
controls with normal ovarian function.20–22 They have increased cardiovascular risk factors such as obesity,
hyperandrogenism, hyperlipidaemia and hyperinsulinaemia. Their abnormal lipid profiles mainly consist of
raised triglycerides, total and low-density lipoprotein cholesterol.23–25 The effect of PCOS on high-density
lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL-C), however, is controversial, 23,24,26 and evidence on hypertension is also less
consistent.26 The elevation of risk factors in young women with PCOS may therefore put them at increased
risk of developing accelerated atherosclerosis resulting in myocardial infarction.14,24,25 In the Nurses’ Health
Study, menstrual cycle irregularity was associated with an increased risk of nonfatal and fatal coronary heart
disease, although no data were available for confirmation of a diagnosis of PCOS.27
Despite the increase in cardiovascular risk factors, morbidity and mortality from coronary heart
disease among women with PCOS has not been shown to be as high as predicted.28 Studies to date
are small in size and randomised controlled trials and prospective endpoint studies are lacking.
Nevertheless, from a clinical perspective, clinicians should continue to identify cardiovascular risk
factors in women with PCOS and treat these accordingly. In clinical practice, hypertension should
be treated according to the Joint British Society Guidelines, which should be referred to.29 These
guidelines suggest that persistent blood pressures greater or equal to 140 mmHg systolic and or 90
mmHg diastolic, not responding to lifestyle measures, need to be considered for drug therapy
(women with diabetes or other high risk factors with blood pressure greater than 130 mmHg
systolic and or 80 mmHg diastolic may require drug therapy). Lipid-lowering treatment is not
recommended routinely and should be prescribed by a specialist. PCOS and pregnancy What are the implications of PCOS for pregnancy?Women who have been diagnosed as having PCOS before pregnancy (such as those requiring ovulation induction for conception) should be screened for gestational diabetes before 20 weeks of gestation, with referral to a specialist obstetric diabetic service if abnormalities are detected Metformin is currently not licensed for use in pregnancy in the UK and is not recommended for use in pregnancy.
There is a higher risk of gestational diabetes in women with PCOS.30,31 The risk is believed to be greatest in
obese women with PCOS who required ovulation induction in order to conceive. Such women should be
screened for abnormal glucose tolerance in pregnancy and, if appropriate, referred for antenatal management
by an obstetrician with special interest in diabetes in pregnancy. A recent meta-analysis concluded that
women with PCOS have a significantly higher risk of pregnancy complications compared to controls.32
Metformin taken throughout pregnancy had been suggested to reduce the risk of miscarriage and gestational
diabetes in women with PCOS.33,34 Another meta-analysis provided reassurance that metformin is safe, with
suggestive data that it may reduce incidence of miscarriage if taken in the first trimester of pregnancy.35
However, the methodology of these studies was poor and metformin is currently not licensed for use in
pregnancy in the UK. We do not recommend its use in pregnancy at present until further randomised
prospective study results are available to provide adequate evidence of safety and efficacy of its use in this
context. A larger multicentre trial, the MiG trial, is due to report on the use of metformin in pregnancy soon.
Nevertheless, being a class B drug, metformin has no reported evidence of animal or fetal toxicity or
Comparing metformin-treated PCOS and control groups, no differences in height, weight and motor-social
development in infants has been noted during the first 18 months of life.36 Even though metformin is excreted
in breast milk, it is at a very low level,37–39 and there have been no concerns to date with its use.36–38 There may
still be unanticipated risks to the baby from the postnatal use of metformin by breastfeeding women.40 Further
studies are therefore needed before recommending the use of metformin in the puerperium.
Women who have been diagnosed in pregnancy with gestational diabetes have been found to have
a high prevalence of PCOS on subsequent screening. This association is more common in women
Cancer and PCOS What are the risks of cancer in women with PCOS?Oligo- or amenorrhoea in women with PCOS may predispose to endometrial hyperplasia and later carcinoma. It is good practice to recommend treatment with progestogens to induce a withdrawal bleed at least every 3–4 months. There does not appear to be an association with breast or ovarian cancer and no additional surveillance is required.
It has been known for many years that severe oligo- and amenorrhoea in the presence of
premenopausal levels of estrogen can lead to endometrial hyperplasia and carcinoma.43 In women
with PCOS intervals between menstruation of more than 3 months may be associated with
endometrial hyperplasia.44 Regular induction of a withdrawal bleed with cyclical gestogens, such as
progestogens for at least 12 days,45,46 oral contraceptive pills or the Mirena® intrauterine system
would be advisable in oligomenorrhoeic women with PCOS. Women who are oligomenorrhoeic
and do not have normal withdrawal bleeds should be investigated and managed according to local
protocols. This may include ultrasound scan, endometrial sampling and/or hysteroscopy.47
Women with PCOS do not have any significant increase in risk of developing breast cancer compared with
those without (RR 1.2; 95% CI 0.7–2.0).48 A small number of studies have addressed the possibility of an
association between PCOS and epithelial ovarian cancer risk, the results are conflicting but generally
reassuring.49 As there does not appear to be an association with breast or ovarian cancer, no additional
surveillance is required beyond routine screening. Strategies for reduction of risk How should women with PCOS be advised on lifestyle issues?Women diagnosed with PCOS should be advised regarding weight loss through diet and exercise.
Lifestyle changes through diet and exercise remain the first line for treatment of obesity in PCOS. PCOS is
often associated with obesity and abnormal fat distribution, especially of abdominal fat, even where the BMI
is normal.50 Obesity worsens insulin resistance that may exacerbate this dysfunction. Loss of significant weight
has been reported to result in spontaneous resumption of ovulation,51 improvement in fertility,52 increased
SHBG and reduced basal level of insulin53,54 accompanied by a normalisation in glucose metabolism.55 Lifestyle
alteration will reduce the likelihood of developing type 2 diabetes later in life. There is no clear evidence of
an effect of diet and exercise on the long-term health of women with PCOS who have normal body habitus,
although it seems prudent to advise such patients to maintain their body weight within the normal range.
While there is little long-term data on the effect of lifestyle intervention in women with PCOS,
the diabetes prevention trial examined subjects with similar metabolic profiles and risk factors.
This study found that lifestyle intervention reduced the risk of diabetes by 58%.56 In the absence
of any robust long-term follow-up data for lifestyle interventions, it would seem prudent to advise
regular exercise (aiming for a mean 30 minutes sweat-inducing exercise daily) as the most
important lifestyle measure, and to have a healthy, balanced diet of regular, hypocalorific meals
Is drug therapy appropriate for women with PCOS?Insulin-sensitising agents have not been licensed in the UK for use in women who are not diabetic. Although a body of evidence has accumulated demonstrating the safety of these drugs, there is currently no evidence of a long-term benefit for the use of insulin-sensitising agents. Use of weight-reduction drugs may be helpful in reducing insulin resistance through weight loss.
The demonstration of the potential long-term health consequences of PCOS have been
accompanied by renewed interest in the use of insulin-sensitising agents such as metformin and the
thiazolidinediones (troglitazone, rosiglitazone and pioglitazone) to reduce insulin resistance and
thereby reduce risk of developing diabetes and other metabolic sequelae. Although a body of
evidence as accumulated demonstrating the safety of these drugs, there is no evidence for a long-
term benefit for use of sensitising agents. Both metformin57–64 and troglitazone65,66 have been shown
to have beneficial short-term effects on insulin resistance in women with PCOS who are not
diabetic. There is evidence that metformin may modestly reduce androgen levels by around 11% in
women with PCOS compared with placebo and modest reductions in body weight have been
reported by some, but not all studies. Women with a body mass index of more than 37 may not
respond well to metformin therapy. It must be emphasised that both metformin and the
thiazolidinediones are unlicensed for use in PCOS and patients should be counselled before
initiating therapy. There is no current robust evidence to support the use of these drugs for the
prevention of cardiovascular disease in PCOS and further research in this area is required. This is of
particular importance with respect to a recent meta-analysis suggesting an increase in myocardial
infarction and death in women with diabetes treated with rosiglitazone.67 Inference from the
diabetes prevention trial that examined a cohort of patients who had similar metabolic profiles to
women with PCOS suggested that metformin is not superior to lifestyle intervention in improving
cardiometabolic risk and progression to type 2 diabetes.68
The use of metformin in induction of ovulation and fertility in women with PCOS will not be discussed here
as it is beyond the remit of this guideline.
Orlistat69 and sibutramine70 have been shown to significantly reduce body weight and hyperandrogenism in
women with PCOS. However, the use of sibutramine is not recommended in patients with systolic
hypertension. There is currently no data on the use of rimonabant in women with PCOS but evidence suggests
it may have benefit transferable to women with PCOS in weight reduction and improvement in the
cardiometabolic profile.71 Bariatric surgery may be indicated in selected women with morbid obesity.72
What is the prognosis following surgery?Ovarian electrocautery should be reserved for selected anovulatory women with a normal BMI.
Anovulation associated with PCOS has long been known to be amenable to surgical treatment. A recent long-
term cohort study up to 20 years after laparoscopic ovarian electrocautery has shown persistence of ovulation
and normalisation of serum androgens and SHBG in over 60% of subjects, particularly if they have a normal BMI.73
Insulin resistance and serum lipids were not assessed. The long-term benefits of ovarian drilling, including
alterations in the endocrine profile are supported by a second study.74 However, no prospective studies have
been powered to look at cardiovascular risk profiles and ovarian electrocautery should be reserved for
selected anovulatory women with a normal body mass index or where a laparoscopy is required for other
indications. It is also very important to highlight that ovarian surgery/drilling may affect the reproductive
capacity of the ovaries in the future. Image-related issues How should women with hirsutism and acne be advised?Women should be advised that there is insufficient evidence in favour of either metformin or the oral contraceptive pill in treating hirsutism or acne.
Effects of hyperandrogenisation are among the most deleterious long-term consequences of PCOS when
taken into consideration of its impact on a woman’s self-image perception and the subsequent psychological
effects. Hirsutism in the setting of PCOS is difficult to treat and there are currently no large randomised
control trials on its treatment in this patient group. A recent Cochrane review to compare the use of insulin
sensitising drugs versus combined oral contraceptive pills concluded that the limited data available
demonstrated no evidence of difference in effect between metformin and the pill on hirsutism and acne.75
Licensed treatments for hirsutism include oral contraceptive pills, dianette (oestrogen and cyproterone
acetate), cosmetic measures (such as laser, electrolysis, bleaching, waxing and shaving) and topical facial
eflornithine (Vaniqa®, SkinMedica Inc.). However, there is a paucity of good-quality robust placebo controlled
trials for hirsutism treatment, particularly for combination therapy. In practice, a combination of methods is
often required to achieve an acceptable cosmetic result for the woman. Non-licensed treatments are available
and their use will depend on individual practice and expertise. These agents include spironolactone,
antiandrogens, such as flutamide, finasteride and high-dose cyproterone acetate. Adequate contraceptive
measures are essential with these medications. Metformin as an insulin sensitiser has been shown to have a
modest effect on hirsutism associated with a 11% reduction in testosterone levels.76
1. Accurate diagnosis of PCOS defined and based on two of the three criteria from the Rotterdam consensus.
2. Blood pressure measurement and a fasting blood glucose should be taken.
3. Women with a body mass index greater than 30 or a strong family history of type 2 diabetes should have
a glucose tolerance test, particularly if fertility is an issue.
4. All overweight PCOS women should be provided with dietary and lifestyle advice.
5. Amenorrhoeic or severely oligomenorrhoeic women with PCOS should have induced withdrawal bleeds
at regular intervals to reduce the risk of developing endometrial hyperplasia. References References
Al-Inany H, Johnson N. Drugs for anovulatory infertility in
20. Cibula D, Cifkova R, Fanta M, Poledne R, Zivny J Skibova J.
polycystic ovary syndrome. BMJ 2006;332:1461–2.
Increased risk of non-insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus,
Lobo RA. Choice of treatment for women with polycystic ovary
arterial hypertension and coronary artery disease in perimeno-
syndrome. Fertil Steril. 2006;86 Suppl 1;S22–3.
pausal women with a history of the polycystic ovary syndrome.
Franks S. Polycystic ovary syndrome. N Engl J Med.
21. Elting MW, Korsen TJ, Bezemer PD, Schoemaker J. Prevalence of
Glueck CJ, Papanna R, Wang P, Goldenberg N, Sieve–Smith L.
diabetes mellitus, hypertension and cardiac complaints in a
Incidence and treatment of metabolic syndrome in newly
follow-up study of a Dutch PCOS population. Hum Reprod
referred women with confirmed polycystic ovarian syndrome. Metabolism. 2003;52:908–15.
22. Wild RA. Long-term health consequences of PCOS. Hum Reprod
Knochenhauer ES, Key TJ, Kahsar-Miller M, Waggoner W,
Boots LR, Azziz R. Prevalence of the polycystic ovary syndrome
23. Conway GS, Agrawal R, Betteridge DJ, Jacobs HS. Risk factors for
in unselected black and white women of the southeastern
coronary artery disease in lean and obese women with the poly-
United States: a prospective study. J Clin Endocrinol Metab.
cystic ovary syndrome. Clin Endocrinol (Oxf) 1992;37:119–25.
24. Talbott E, Guzick D, Clerici A, Berga S, Detre K, Weimer K, et al.
Diamanti-Kandarakis E, Kouli CR, Bergiele AT, Filandra FA,
Coronary heart disease risk factors in women with polycystic
Tsianateli TC, Spina GG, et al. A survey of the polycystic ovary
ovary syndrome. Arterioscler Thromb Vasc Biol 1995;15:821–6.
syndrome in the Greek island of Lesbos: hormonal and
25. Legro RS, Kunselman AR, Dunaif A. Prevalence and predictors of
metabolic profile. J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 1999;84:4006–11.
dyslipidemia in women with polycystic ovary syndrome. Am J
Asuncion M, Calvo RM, San Millan JL, Sancho J, Avila S, Escobar-
Morreale HF. A prospective study of the prevalence of the
26. Wild S, Pierpoint T, McKeigue P, Jacobs H. Cardiovascular disease
polycystic ovary syndrome in unselected Caucasian women
in women with polycystic ovary syndrome at long-term
from Spain. J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2000;85:2434–8.
follow-up: a retrospective cohort study. Clin Endocrinol (Oxf)
Azziz R, Woods KS, Reyna R, Key TJ, Knochenhauer ES Yildiz BO.
The prevalence and features of the polycystic ovary syndrome
27. Solomon CG, Hu FB, Dunaif A, Rich-Edwards JE, Stampfer MJ,
in an unselected population. J Clin Endocrinol Metab.
Willett WC, et al. Menstrual cycle irregularity and risk for
future cardiovascular disease. J Clin Endocrinol Metab
Rodin DA, Bano G, Bland JM, Taylor K, Nussey SS. Polycystic
ovaries and associated metabolic abnormalities in Indian
28. Wild S, Pierpoint T, Jacobs H, McKeigue P. Long-term conse-
subcontinent Asian women. Clin Endocrinol (Oxf)
quences of polycystic ovary syndrome: results of a 31 year
follow-up study. Hum Fertil (Camb) 2000;3:101–105.
10. Wijeyaratne CN, Balen AH, Barth JH, Belchetz PE. Clinical
29. Joint British Societies’ guidelines. JBS 2: Joint British Societies’
manifestations and insulin resistance (IR) in polycystic ovary
guidelines on prevention of cardiovascular disease in clinical
syndrome (PCOS) among South Asians and Caucasians: is there
practice. Heart 2005;91 Suppl 5;(v1–52).
a difference? Clin Endocrinol (Oxf) 2002;57:343–50.
30. Radon PA, McMahon MJ, Meyer WR. Impaired glucose tolerance
11. ESHRE/ASRM–Sponsored PCOS Consensus Workshop Group.
in pregnant women with polycystic ovary syndrome. Obstet
Revised 2003 consensus on diagnostic criteria and long–term
health risks related to polycystic ovary syndrome. Fertil Steril
31. Vollenhoven B, Clark S, Kovacs G, Burger H, Healy D. Prevalence
of gestational diabetes mellitus in polycystic ovarian syndrome
12. Cho LW, Jayagopal V, Kilpatrick ES, Atkin SL. The biological
(PCOS) patients pregnant after ovulation induction with
variation of C–reactive protein in polycystic ovarian syndrome.
gonadotrophins. Aust N Z J Obstet Gynaecol 2000;40:54–8.
32. Boomsma CM, Eijkemans MJC, Hughes EG, Visser GHA, Fauser
13. Legro RS, Kunselman AR, Dodson WC, Dunaif A. Prevalence and
BCJM, Macklon NS. A meta–analysis of pregnancy outcomes in
predictors of risk for type 2 diabetes mellitus and impaired
women with polycystic ovary syndrome. Hum Reprod Update
glucose tolerance in polycystic ovary syndrome: a prospective,
controlled study in 254 affected women. J Clin Endocrinol
33. Glueck CJ, Wang P, Kobayashi S, Phillips H, Sieve-Smith L.
Metformin therapy throughout pregnancy reduces the develop-
14. Dahlgren E, Janson PO, Johansson S, Lapidus L, Oden A. Polycystic
ment of gestational diabetes in women with polycystic ovary
ovary syndrome and risk for myocardial infarction. Evaluated
syndrome. Fertil Steril. 2002;77:520–5.
from a risk factor model based on a prospective population
34. Thatcher SS Jackson EM. Pregnancy outcome in infertile patients
study of women. Acta Obstet Gynecol Scand. 1992;71:599–604.
with polycystic ovary syndrome who were treated with
15. Dunaif A, Finegood DT. Beta–cell dysfunction independent of
metformin. Fertil Steril 2006;85:1002–9.
obesity and glucose intolerance in the polycystic ovary
35. Gilbert C, Valois M, Koren G. Pregnancy outcome after first-
syndrome. J Clin Endocrinol Metab 1996;81:942–7.
trimester exposure to metformin: a meta-analysis. Fertil Steril
16. Ehrmann DA, Barnes RB, Rosenfield RL, Cavaghan MK, Imperial
J. Prevalence of impaired glucose tolerance and diabetes in
36. Glueck CJ, Salehi M, Sieve L, Wang P. Growth, motor, and social
women with polycystic ovary syndrome. Diabetes Care
development in breast- and formula-fed infants of metformin-
treated women with polycystic ovary syndrome. J Pediatr
17. Fogel RB, Malhotra A, Pillar G, Pittman SD, Dunaif A, White DP.
Increased prevalence of obstructive sleep apnea syndrome in
37. Hale TW, Kristensen JH, Hackett LP, Kohan R, Ilett KF. Transfer of
obese women with polycystic ovary syndrome. J Clin
metformin into human milk. Diabetologia 2002;45:1509–14. Endocrinol Metab 2001;86:1175–80.
38. Gardiner SJ, Begg EJ, Kirkpatrick CM, Buckham RB. Metformin
18. Gopal M, Duntley S, Uhles M, Attarian H. The role of obesity in
therapy and diabetes in pregnancy. Med J Aust 2004;181:174–5.
the increased prevalence of obstructive sleep apnea syndrome
39. Briggs GG, Ambrose PJ, Nageotte MP, Padilla G, Wan S. Excretion
in patients with polycystic ovarian syndrome. Sleep Med
of metformin into breast milk and the effect on nursing infants. Obstet Gynecol 2005;105:1437–41.
19. Vgontzas AN, Legro RS, Bixler EO, Grayev A, Kales A, Chrousos GP.
40. Simmons D, Walters BN, Rowan JA, McIntyre HD. Metformin
Polycystic ovary syndrome is associated with obstructive sleep
therapy and diabetes in pregnancy. Med J Aust 2004;180:462–4.
apnea and daytime sleepiness: role of insulin resistance. J Clin
41. Holte J, Gennarelli G, Wide L, Lithell H, Berne C. High prevalence
Endocrinol Metab 2001;86:517–20.
of polycystic ovaries and associated clinical, endocrine, and
metabolic features in women with previous gestational diabetes
60. Morin-Papunen LC, Vauhkonen I, Koivunen RM, Ruokonen A,
mellitus. J Clin Endocrinol Metab 1998;83:1143–50.
Martikainen HK, Tapanainen JS. Endocrine and metabolic effects
42. Kousta E, Cela E, Lawrence N, Penny A, Millauer B, White D, et al.
of metformin versus ethinyl estradiol–cyproterone acetate in
The prevalence of polycystic ovaries in women with a history of
obese women with polycystic ovary syndrome: a randomized
gestational diabetes. Clin Endocrinol (Oxf) 2000;53:501–7.
study. J Clin Endocrinol Metab 2000;85:3161–8.
43. Chamlian DL, Taylor HB. Endometrial hyperplasia in young
61. Pasquali R, Gambineri A, Biscotti D, Vicennati V, Gagliardi L,
women. Obstet Gynecol 1970;36:659–66.
Colitta D, et al. Effect of long-term treatment with metformin
44. Cheung AP Ultrasound and menstrual history in predicting
added to hypocaloric diet on body composition, fat distribution,
endometrial hyperplasia in polycystic ovary syndrome. Obstet
and androgen and insulin levels in abdominally obese women
with and without the polycystic ovary syndrome. J Clin
45. Sturdee DW, Wade-Evans T, Paterson ME, Thom M, Studd J. W. Endocrinol Metab 2000;85:2767–74.
Relations between bleeding pattern, endometrial histology, and
62. Ng EH, Wat NM, Ho PC. Effects of metformin on ovulation rate,
oestrogen treatment in menopausal women. Br Med J
hormonal and metabolic profiles in women with clomiphene-
resistant polycystic ovaries: a randomized, double–blinded
46. Writing Group for the PEPI Trial. Effects of hormone replace-
placebo-controlled trial. Hum Reprod 2001;16:1625–31.
ment therapy on endometrial histology in postmenopausal
63. Fleming R, Hopkinson ZE, Wallace AM, Greer IA, Sattar N. Ovarian
women. The Postmenopausal Estrogen/Progestin Interventions
function and metabolic factors in women with oligomenorrhea
(PEPI) l. JAMA 1996;275:370–5.
treated with metformin in a randomized double blind placebo-
47. Balen A. Polycystic ovary syndrome and cancer. Hum Reprod
controlled trial. J Clin Endocrinol Metab 2002;87:569–74.
64. Kocak M, Caliskan E, Simsir C Haberal A. Metformin therapy
48. Anderson KE, Sellers TA, Chen PL, Rich SS, Hong CP, Folsom AR.
improves ovulatory rates, cervical scores, and pregnancy rates in
Association of Stein–Leventhal syndrome with the incidence of
clomiphene citrate-resistant women with polycystic ovary
postmenopausal breast carcinoma in a large prospective study
syndrome. Fertil Steril 2002;77:101–6.
of women in Iowa. Cancer 1997;79:494–9.
65. Dunaif A, Scott D, Finegood D, Quintana B, Whitcomb R. The
49. Gadducci A, Gargini A, Palla E, Fanucchi A, Genazzani AR.
insulin-sensitizing agent troglitazone improves metabolic and
Polycystic ovary syndrome and gynecological cancers: is there a
reproductive abnormalities in the polycystic ovary syndrome. J
link? Gynecol Endocrinol 2005;20:200–8. Clin Endocrinol Metab 1996b;81:3299–306.
50. Kirchengast S, Huber J. Body composition characteristics and
66. Ehrmann DA, Schneider D J, Sobel BE, Cavaghan MK, Imperial J,
body fat distribution in lean women with polycystic ovary
Rosenfield RL, et al. Troglitazone improves defects in insulin
syndrome. Hum Reprod 2001;16:1255–60.
action, insulin secretion, ovarian steroidogenesis, and fibrinolysis
51. Crosignani PG, Colombo M, Vegetti W, Somigliana E, Gessati A
in women with polycystic ovary syndrome. J Clin Endocrinol
Ragni G. Overweight and obese anovulatory patients with
polycystic ovaries: parallel improvements in anthropometric
67. Nissen SE, Wolski K. Effect of rosiglitazone on the risk of
indices, ovarian physiology and fertility rate induced by diet.
myocardial infarction and death from cardiovascular causes. NHum Reprod 2003;18:1928–32. Engl J Med 2007;356:2457–71.
52. Norman RJ, Noakes M, Wu R, Davies MJ, Moran L, Wang JX.
68. Ratner R, Goldberg R, Haffner S, Marcovina S, Orchard T, Fowler
Improving reproductive performance in overweight/obese
S, et al. Impact of intensive lifestyle and metformin therapy on
women with effective weight management. Hum Reprod
cardiovascular disease risk factors in the diabetes prevention
program. Diabetes Care 2005;28:888–94.
53. Huber-Buchholz MM, Carey DG, Norman RJ. Restoration of
69. Jayagopal V, Kilpatrick ES, Holding S, Jennings PE Atkin SL. Orlistat
reproductive potential by lifestyle modification in obese poly-
is as beneficial as metformin in the treatment of polycystic
cystic ovary syndrome: role of insulin sensitivity and luteinizing
ovarian syndrome. J Clin Endocrinol Metab 2005;90:729–33.
hormone. J Clin Endocrinol Metab 1999;84:1470–4.
70. Sabuncu T, Harma M, Nazligul Y, Kilic F. Sibutramine has a positive
54. Tolino A, Gambardella V, Caccavale C, D’Ettore A, Giannotti F,
effect on clinical and metabolic parameters in obese patients
D’Anto V De Falco CL. Evaluation of ovarian functionality after a
with polycystic ovary syndrome. Fertil Steril 2003;80:1199–204.
dietary treatment in obese women with polycystic ovary
71. Van Gaal LF, Rissanen AM, Scheen AJ, Ziegler O, Rossner S. Effects
syndrome. Eur J Obstet Gynecol Reprod Biol 2005;119:87–93.
of the cannabinoid-1 receptor blocker rimonabant on weight
55. Kiddy DS, Hamilton-Fairley D, Bush A, Short F, Anyaoku V, Reed
reduction and cardiovascular risk factors in overweight patients:
MJ, Franks S. Improvement in endocrine and ovarian function
1-year experience from the RIO-Europe study. Lancet
during dietary treatment of obese women with polycystic ovary
syndrome. Clin Endocrinol (Oxf) 1992;36:105–11.
72. Escobar-Morreale HF, Botella-Carretero JI, Alvarez-Blasco F,
56. Tuomilehto J, Lindstrom J, Eriksson JG, Valle TT, Hamalainen H,
Sancho J, San Millan JL. The polycystic ovary syndrome
Ilanne-Parikka P, et al. Prevention of type 2 diabetes mellitus by
associated with morbid obesity may resolve after weight loss
changes in lifestyle among subjects with impaired glucose
induced by bariatric surgery. J Clin Endocrinol Metab
tolerance. N Engl J Med 2001;344:1343–50.
57. Velazquez EM, Mendoza S, Hamer T, Sosa F, Glueck CJ. Metformin
73. Gjonnaess H. Late endocrine effects of ovarian electrocautery
therapy in polycystic ovary syndrome reduces hyper-
in women with polycystic ovary syndrome. Fertil Steril
insulinemia, insulin resistance, hyperandrogenemia, and systolic
blood pressure, while facilitating normal menses and pregnancy.
74. Amer SA, Banu Z, Li TC, Cooke ID. Long–term follow–up of
patients with polycystic ovary syndrome after laparoscopic
58. Nestler JE Jakubowicz DJ. Decreases in ovarian cytochrome
ovarian drilling: endocrine and ultrasonographic outcomes.
P450c17 alpha activity and serum free testosterone after
reduction of insulin secretion in polycystic ovary syndrome. N
75. Costello M, Shrestha B, Eden J, Sjoblom P, Johnson N. Insulin
Engl J Med 1996;335:617–23.
sensitising drugs versus the combined oral contraceptive pill for
59. Moghetti P, Castello R, Negri C, Tosi F, Perrone F, Caputo M, et al.
hirsutism, acne and risk of diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and
Metformin effects on clinical features, endocrine and metabolic
endometrial cancer in polycystic ovary syndrome. Cochrane
profiles, and insulin sensitivity in polycystic ovary syndrome: a
Database Syst Rev 2007;1:CD005552.
randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled 6–month trial,
76. Harborne L, Fleming R, Lyall H, Sattar N, Norman J. Metformin or
followed by open, long-term clinical evaluation. J Clin
antiandrogen in the treatment of hirsutism in polycystic ovary
Endocrinol Metab 2000;85:139–46.
syndrome. J Clin Endocrinol Metab 2003;88:4116–23.
This Guideline was produced on behalf of the Guidelines and Audit Committee of the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists by: Professor WL Ledger FRCOG, Sheffield, Professor SL Atkin, Hull and Dr Li Wei Cho, Hull. Peer reviewed by: Professor AH Balen FRCOG, Leeds; Professor S Franks FRCOG, London; Professor N Haites, Department of Medical Genetics, Aberdeen Royal Infirmary, Aberdeen, Scotland; British Fertility Society; Diabetes UK; Mr JM Lord MRCOG, Truro; Dr J McManus FRCOG, Belfast, N Ireland; Dr. A Chavez-Badiola, Consultant Gynaecologist, West Mexico Fertility Services, Guadalajara, Mexico; Dr C Duncan, Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Simpson Centre for Reproductive Health, Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh, Edinburgh, Scotland; RCOG Consumers’ Forum, Dr D Siassakos, SpR Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Taunton and Somerset Hospital; Mr PG Wardle FRCOG, Bristol.
The Guidelines and Audit lead reviewers were: Dr MR Gazvani MRCOG, Liverpool and Mrs C Overton FRCOG, Bristol. APPENDIX
Clinical guidelines are: ‘systematically developed statements which assist clinicians and patients in
making decisions about appropriate treatment for specific conditions’. Each guideline is systematically
developed using a standardised methodology. Exact details of this process can be found in Clinical
Governance Advice No. 1: Guidance for the Development of RCOG Green-top Guidelines (available on
the RCOG website at www.rcog.org.uk/clingov1). These recommendations are not intended to dictate
an exclusive course of management or treatment. They must be evaluated with reference to individual
patient needs, resources and limitations unique to the institution and variations in local populations. It is
hoped that this process of local ownership will help to incorporate these guidelines into routine
practice. Attention is drawn to areas of clinical uncertainty where further research may be indicated.
The evidence used in this guideline was graded using the scheme below and the recommendations
formulated in a similar fashion with a standardised grading scheme. Classification of evidence levels Grades of recommendations
Requires the availability of well controlled
clinical studies but no randomised clinical
trials on the topic of recommendations.
clinical experiences of respectedauthorities. Indicates an absence of directly
applicable clinical studies of good quality. Good practice point
The Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists produces guidelines as an educational aid to good clinicalpractice. They present recognised methods and techniques of clinical practice, based on published evidence, forconsideration by obstetricians and gynaecologists and other relevant health professionals. The ultimate judgementregarding a particular clinical procedure or treatment plan must be made by the doctor or other attendant in the lightof clinical data presented by the patient and the diagnostic and treatment options available.
This means that RCOG Guidelines are unlike protocols or guidelines issued by employers, as they are not intended tobe prescriptive directions defining a single course of management. Departure from the local prescriptive protocols orguidelines should be fully documented in the patient’s case notes at the time the relevant decision is taken.
The Guidelines review process will commence in December 2010
________________________________________________________________________________ Diabetes Mellitus and Risks of Dual Blockade of the Renin-Angiotensin-Aldosterone System Ferrán Catalá-López a,b* and Diego Macías Saint-Gerons a a División de Farmacoepidemiología y Farmacovigilancia, Agencia Española de Medicamentos y Productos Sanitarios (AEMPS), Madrid, España b Centro Superi