Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) - Medications
As part of
polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) treatment, medicines
can be used to help control reproductive hormone or insulin levels.
Medicines to treat reproductive or metabolic problems include:
- Combination estrogen and progestin hormones in birth control pills, vaginal rings, or skin patches. These
hormones correct irregular menstrual bleeding or absent menstrual cycles. They
may also improve your
androgen-related acne problems, male-type hair growth,
and male-pattern hair loss.
- Synthetic progestin. If you are not able to use
the hormone estrogen, talk to your doctor about using progestin shots or pills
for part of your cycle. The progestin makes your endometrial lining build up
and shed, similar to a menstrual period. This monthly shedding is what prevents
spironolactone (Aldactone), which is a
diuretic. It is often used with estrogen-progestin
therapy. This reduces hair loss, acne, and abnormal hair growth on the face
and body (hirsutism).
- Metformin (Glucophage). This diabetes
medicine is a newer PCOS treatment for controlling
insulin, blood sugar levels, and androgen levels.
- Clomiphene (Clomid, Serophene) (fertility
gonadotropin injections (LH and FSH).
Eflornithine (such as Vaniqa) is a prescription skin
cream that slows hair growth for as long as you use it regularly. Talk to your
doctor about whether it is right for you.
Treatment for acne includes nonprescription and prescription
medicines that are applied to the skin (topical) or taken by mouth (oral). For
more information, see Acne.
Combination hormone pills
may improve acne that is related to high androgen levels.4