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A Journal on Pediatrics, Neonatology, Adolescent Medicine,
Child and Adolescent Psychiatry

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Minerva Pediatrica 2017 October;69(5):434-43

DOI: 10.23736/S0026-4946.17.04976-3


language: English

Insulin sensitizers in adolescents with polycystic ovary syndrome

Trang N. LE 1, 2 , Edmond P. WICKHAM 3rd 1, 2, John E. NESTLER 1

1 Division of Endocrinology, Department of Internal Medicine, Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond, VA, USA; 2 Division of Pediatric Endocrinology, Children’s Hospital of Richmond, Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond, VA, USA


Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is the most common disorder of androgen excess in women of reproductive age. The diagnosis of PCOS can be more challenging in adolescents than in adult women given significant overlap between normal puberty and the signs of PCOS, including acne, menstrual irregularity, and polycystic ovarian morphology. Optimal treatments for adult women with PCOS vary depending on patient risk factors and reproductive goals, but mainly include hormonal contraception and insulin sensitizers. There is continued interest in targeting the intrinsic insulin resistance that contributes to metabolic and hormonal derangements associated with PCOS. The vast majority of published data on insulin sensitizing PCOS treatments are reported in adult women; these have included weight loss, metformin, thiazolidinediones, and the inositols. Furthermore, there is also a small but growing body of evidence in support of the use of insulin sensitizers in adolescents, with or without oral contraceptives. Discussion of the available treatments, including benefits, potential side effects, and incorporation of patient and family preferences is critical in developing a plan of care aimed at achieving patient-important improvements in PCOS signs and symptoms while addressing the longer-term cardiometabolic risks associated with the syndrome.

KEY WORDS: Polycystic ovary syndrome - Adolescent - Insulin

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Publication History

Issue published online: July 25, 2017
Article first published online: May 11, 2017
Manuscript accepted: May 4, 2017
Manuscript received: April 19, 2017

Cite this article as

Le TN, Wickham EP 3rd, Nestler JE. Insulin sensitizers in adolescents with polycystic ovary syndrome. Minerva Pediatr 2017;69:434-43. DOI: 10.23736/S0026-4946.17.04976-3

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