Pharmacological and surgical treatment of nonreproductive outcomes in polycystic ovary syndrome: An overview of systematic reviews

Chau T. Tay, Anju E. Joham, Danielle S. Hiam, Moustafa A. Gadalla, Jyotsna Pundir, Shakila Thangaratinam, Helena J. Teede, Lisa J. Moran

Research output: Contribution to journalReview ArticleResearchpeer-review

11 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) affects up to 13% women and is associated with significant complications. The quality of evidence supporting the recommendations on treatment of nonreproductive outcomes in PCOS is unknown. Objective: To summarize and appraise the methodological quality of systematic reviews and meta-analyses evaluating pharmacological and surgical treatments for nonreproductive outcomes in PCOS. Methods: A literature search from MEDLINE, EMBASE, CINAHL PLUS and PROSPERO was performed from inception until 15th of September 2017. Article selection, data extraction and quality appraisal of included reviews were performed in duplicate. A narrative synthesis of the findings was conducted. Results: This overview included 31 reviews. The quality was low for 7 (23%), moderate for sixteen (52%) and high for 8 reviews (26%). Two reviews assessed psychological outcomes. Metformin improved anthropometric (7 of 10 reviews), metabolic (4 of 14 reviews) and endocrine outcomes (3 of twelve reviews). Thiazolidinediones improved metabolic (2 of 5 reviews) and endocrine outcomes (one of 5 reviews) but worsened weight gain (5 of 5 reviews). Combined oral contraceptive pill (COCP) improved clinical hyperandrogenism (2 of 2 reviews). Statins improved lipid profile (3 of 3 reviews) and testosterone level (2 of 3 reviews). There was no conclusive evidence from included systematic reviews regarding the use of other interventions. Conclusions: There is reliable evidence regarding the use of metformin for anthropometric outcomes and COCPs for hyperandrogenism in women with PCOS but not for other interventions. There is significant gap in knowledge regarding the management of psychological outcomes in women with PCOS which needs further evaluation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)535-553
Number of pages19
JournalClinical Endocrinology
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2018


  • meta-analysis
  • overview
  • polycystic ovary syndrome
  • systematic review
  • treatment

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