What is the health-related quality of life (HRQoL) in women with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) undergoing ovulation induction with clomifene citrate (CC) combined with metformin compared with those using CC combined with placebo? Overall quality of life in women with PCOS treated with CC plus metformin was significantly lower than in women treated with CC plus placebo. There are no data on HRQoL in adult women who receive ovulation induction with the purpose of conceiving. Women with PCOS have higher scores on depression and anxiety scales and lower QoL scores than women without PCOS. This study was a secondary analysis of a multi-centre RCT completed between June 2001 and May 2004. The randomization was stratified per centre, and the centres received blinded, numbered containers with medication. There were172 women available for the HRQoL assessment: 85 were allocated to metformin and 87 were allocated to placebo. The Rotterdam Symptom Checklist (RSCL), a standard self-administered questionnaire, was used to assess physical symptoms, psychological distress, activity levels and overall HRQoL. In the intention to treat analysis, we found differences between the treatment groups with respect to physical symptoms and overall HRQoL. Physical well-being was significantly impaired in women allocated to metformin but not in women allocated to placebo. The increase in physical symptoms in the metformin group was caused by side-effects typical of metformin, and was most pronounced at Week 1 (mean difference 12 [95 confidence interval (CI): 816] and still apparent at Week 16 [mean difference 7 (95 CI 212]. Overall well-being was significantly impaired in the metformin group compared with the placebo group [mean difference 13 (95 CI 620)]. RSCL measurements were available only for three quarters of the participants. Although the number of missing questionnaires and the baseline measurements, were comparable between the treatment groups, some form of selection bias cannot be ruled out. Our finding that metformin was more burdensome than placebo, strengthens the recommendation that CC only and not CC plus metformin should be the drug of choice in this patient population. None of the authors declared a conflict of interest. There was no study funding. ISRCTN5590698
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