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Drug combination promotes weight loss in polycystic ovary syndrome
Date:6/17/2013

SAN FRANCISCO-- Women with polycystic ovary syndrome, or PCOS, lost significantly more weight when they took two drugs that are traditionally used to treat diabetes, rather than either drug alone, a study from Slovenia demonstrates. The results will be presented Monday at The Endocrine Society's 95th Annual Meeting in San Francisco.

PCOS is the leading cause of infertility among women. In the United States, the disorder affects approximately 5 million women, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Women's Health. This translates to 1 in 10 to 20 women, overall, who are affected. The disease probably is genetic, although the exact causes are still unknown.

In PCOS, the ovaries produce excessive amounts of male sex hormones, or androgens. The name of the disease derives from small cysts that form on the ovaries, which do not produce enough of the hormone that triggers ovulation. When this occurs, the ovarian follicles, which have filled with fluid in preparation for ovulation, remain as cysts when ovulation fails to take place. In addition to infertility, symptoms include excessive hair growth in areas that usually are relatively hairless; obesity; menstrual irregularity; thinning or balding hair on the scalp; prediabetes or diabetes; and anxiety or depression. Weight loss in these women leads to higher chances of conception, improved pregnancy outcomes and improved metabolic profile.

Treatment varies depending upon the severity of the disease, and includes lifestyle modifications and drug therapy. Some of the same medications that are used to treat diabetes also improve PCOS symptoms. One of these medications, metformin, works by regulating the hormone insulin and by suppressing androgen activity, which, in turn, helps control blood-sugar levels and has beneficial effects on ovarian function. The problem with metformin, however, is that it does not always aid with weight loss.

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Contact: Jenni Glenn Gingery
jgingery@endocrine.org
301-941-0240
The Endocrine Society
Source:Eurekalert

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