Cardiometabolic abnormalities in the polycystic ovary syndrome: Pharmacotherapeutic insights
The polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) affects 5-10% of all premenopausal women. It is diagnosed by a combination of oligo-amenorrhea and hyperandrogenism (NIH criteria) or by the presence of two out of three of: oligo-amenorrhea, hyperandrogenism, polycystic ovaries on ultrasound (Rotterdam criteria). PCOS is associated with obesity, insulin resistance and dyslipidemia. Different patterns of dyslipidemia can be present, both in lean and obese PCOS. Low HDL-cholesterol, with or without elevated TG, is the most prominent lipid abnormality. In addition, smaller HDL and LDL particles and elevated postprandial TG responses are reported. Hyperandrogenism, anovulation and insulin resistance affect multiple steps in lipid metabolism in PCOS, as will be discussed. Surrogate markers for atherosclerosis are consistently abnormal in PCOS, while studies on clinical CVD endpoints are limited and non-conclusive. The (pharmaco-) therapy of dyslipidemia in PCOS will be discussed. In addition, the effects of other PCOS related (pharmaco-) therapies, primarily aimed at hyperandrogenism, anovulation or insulin resistance, on lipid metabolism will be addressed.