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Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) (cont.)

Medication for PCOS

Oral contraceptive pills (OCPs, birth control pills) are used in some women with PCOS to establish a regular menstrual cycle and to reduce the risk of endometrial hyperplasia and cancer by establishing regular menstrual periods. Another treatment option to reduce the risk of endometrial hyperplasia and cancer is intermittent progestin therapy, for example, medroxyprogesterone acetate (Provera) given for 7 to 10 days every one to two months.

Spironolactone (Aldactone) is a diuretic (water pill) that can successfully reverse effects of excess androgen production such as acne and unwanted hair growth. Another medication that can block the effect of androgens on hair growth is finasteride (Propecia), a medicine that is taken by men to treat hair loss. Since both of these medications can affect the development of a male fetus, they should not be used if pregnancy is desired. Eflornithine (Vaniqa) is a medication that has been approved for reducing the growth of facial hair.

A medication called clomiphene (Clomid) can be used to induce ovulation (cause egg production) in women who desire to become pregnant. If this treatment is not successful, women with PCOS and infertility may require other, more aggressive, treatments for infertility such as injection of gonadotropin hormones and assisted reproductive technologies.

Metformin (Glucophage) is a medication used to treat type 2 diabetes. This drug affects the action of insulin and is sometimes used to treat women with PCOS.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 5/11/2016

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