Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland
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The potential role of incretin-based therapies for polycystic ovary syndrome: a narrative review of the current evidence

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Version 2 2022-07-15, 11:34
Version 1 2021-12-20, 15:10
journal contribution
posted on 2022-07-15, 11:34 authored by Mohammed Altigani Abdalla, Harshal Deshmukh, Stephen AtkinStephen Atkin, Thozhukat Sathyapalan

Introduction: Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is a common endocrine disorder that affects women of reproductive age. Metabolic consequences associated with PCOS include, but are not limited to, insulin resistance (IR), type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM) and cardiovascular disease (CVD). This narrative review aims to provide a comprehensive overview of the potential therapeutic roles of the incretin-based therapies in the management of PCOS.

Methods: We performed a systematic search of databases including PubMed, MEDLINE and EMBASE up to 1 October 2020. We developed a search string of medical subject headings (MeSH) including the terms PCOS, incretin mimetics, glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1), glucagon-like peptide-1 receptor antagonists (GLP-1 RAs), liraglutide, exenatide, semaglutide, dipeptidyl peptidase-4 (DPP-4) inhibitors, combined with IR, testosterone and sex hormone-binding globulin (SHBG).

Results: We identified 854 relevant articles and, after the initial screening, eight interventional animal studies, one observational animal study, 14 interventional human studies, two case-control studies and one systematic review were included. These studies showed the potential significant roles of GLP-1 RAs and DPP-4 inhibitors in the management of PCOS, with significant improvements in the metabolic parameters, including substantial weight reduction and improved insulin sensitivity. These agents also improved the hormonal parameters through decreased free androgen and increased SHBG. Moreover, they improved menstrual regularity, increased fertility with enhanced ovulation and pregnancy in obese women with PCOS.

Conclusion: GLP-1 RAs and DPP-4 inhibitors have a promising therapeutic role in PCOS; however, larger clinical trials are needed to establish the role of incretin-based therapies in the management of PCOS.



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Published Citation

Abdalla MA, Deshmukh H, Atkin S, Sathyapalan T. The potential role of incretin-based therapies for polycystic ovary syndrome: a narrative review of the current evidence. Ther Adv Endocrinol Metab. 2021;12:1-16

Publication Date

27 January 2021

PubMed ID



  • RCSI Bahrain


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  • Published Version (Version of Record)