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Endocr Pract. 2007 Jul-Aug;13(4):373-9.

Changes in glucose tolerance with metformin treatment in polycystic ovary syndrome: a retrospective analysis.

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The Division of Endocrinology and Metabolism, Department of Internal Medicine, Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond, Virginia 23298-0111, USA.



To determine whether treatment with metformin would prevent progression to glucose intolerance and type 2 diabetes in women with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS).


We conducted a retrospective review of medical records of women treated for PCOS during a 5-year period. Eligibility criteria included exclusion of diabetes at baseline by an oral glucose tolerance test, treatment with metformin, and a repeated oral glucose tolerance test after at least 1 year of metformin therapy. Fifty women with PCOS fulfilled the eligibility criteria.


At baseline, 11 women (22%) had impaired glucose tolerance (IGT), and 39 (78%) had normal glucose tolerance (NGT). After treatment with metformin, IGT persisted in 5 (45%) of the 11 women who had IGT at baseline, whereas 6 (55%) had reversion to NGT. During a mean treatment period of 43.3 months, 2 (5%) of the 39 women with baseline NGT had conversion to IGT, resulting in an annual conversion rate from NGT to IGT of 1.4%. In comparison with the 16% to 19% annual conversion rate reported in the literature, metformin treatment in this study resulted in an 11-fold decrease in the annual conversion rate from NGT to IGT (P = 0.01). None of the 50 women developed diabetes.


The findings of this retrospective study suggest that long-term treatment with metformin delays or prevents the development of IGT and type 2 diabetes in women with PCOS.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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