Therapy of obesity in women with PCOS using GLP-1 analogues — benefits and limitations


Agnieszka Baranowska-Bik    

Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is a heterogeneous endocrine disorder among women of reproductive age. The incidence ranges from approx. 6% to 20%. PCOS is characterized by a spectrum of symptoms and clinical features that includes ovarian dysfunction, clinical and/or biochemical hyperandrogenism, and ultrasound evidence of morphologically polycystic ovaries. Obesity is present in 40–70% of patients with the syndrome. Adiposity is involved in exacerbating the negative effects of insulin resistance, hyperinsulinaemia, and hyperandrogenaemia in the course of PCOS. Therefore, it is essential to maintain normal weight or effectively treat overweight/obesity in patients suffering from this endocrinopathy. Apart from diet and lifestyle interventions, an appropriate pharmacological or surgical treatment should be selected for the individual patient. Evidence-based data have unequivocally proven the validity of the use of glucagon-like peptide 1 (GLP-1) analogues in the treatment of overweight/obese patients with PCOS. The result of the GLP-1 therapy is not only a reduction of body weight but also an improvement in insulin resistance and a decrease in hyperandrogenaemia. It also seems that this treatment method increases spontaneous and in-vitro pregnancy rates. Therefore, the GLP-1 treatment of obese PCOS women is a new therapeutic opportunity not only for weight loss but also for a wide range of benefits.
This review summarizes and discusses findings regarding obesity and its relation to hyperandrogenism and insulin resistance in PCOS, with special attention paid to the pharmacological treatment of adiposity with GLP-1 analogues.

Full publication in Endokrynologia Polska »