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Eur J Obstet Gynecol Reprod Biol. 2007 Mar;131(1):61-7. Epub 2006 Nov 17.

Treatment of polycystic ovary syndrome with spironolactone plus licorice.

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  • 1Department of Medical and Surgical Sciences-Endocrinology, University of Padua, Padua, Italy. <>



The aim of the study was to compare the effect of spironolactone (antagonist of mineralocorticoid and androgen receptors) versus spironolactone plus licorice (agonist of mineralocorticoid receptors and mild inhibitor of androgen synthesis) on plasma renin activity, aldosterone and androgen levels in women with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS).


Thirty-two women with PCOS were divided into two groups: 16 received 100 mg spironolactone and 16 spironolactone plus 3.5 g of licorice a day. Blood pressure, body mass index, serum electrolytes, plasma renin activity, plasma aldosterone and cortisol, serum testosterone, and urinary tetrahydrocortisol/tetrahydrocortisone ratio were measured before and during treatment.


Mean blood pressure was significantly reduced during spironolactone treatment, while it was unchanged in women receiving spironolactone plus licorice. Twenty percent of women treated with spironolactone and none treated with the addition of licorice complained of symptoms related to volume depletion. Consistently, the activation of the renin-aldosterone system was significantly lower during spironolactone plus licorice than with spironolactone alone. The prevalence of metrorrhagia was lower in the combined therapy.


In patients with PCOS the mineralocorticoid properties of licorice can reduce the prevalence of side effects related to the diuretic activity of spironolactone.

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