Low-dose flutamide-metformin therapy reverses insulin resistance and reduces fat mass in nonobese adolescents with ovarian hyperandrogenism

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Ovarian hyperandrogenism is a common disorder often presenting post menarche with anovulatory oligomenorrhea and signs of androgen excess. Associated hyperinsulinemic insulin resistance, dyslipidemia, and central fat excess herald long-term disease risk. Combined antiandrogen (flutamide 250 mg/d) and insulin-sensitizing (metformin) therapy has beneficial effects, in particular on dyslipidemia and androgen excess in young women. We studied the effects of low-dose flutamide-metformin combination on metabolic variables and body composition in adolescent girls with ovarian hyperandrogenism. Thirty teenage girls (age range, 13.6-18.6 yr) with hyperinsulinemic hyperandrogenism participated in a 12-month pilot study with a 3-month off-treatment phase and a 9-month treatment phase (randomized sequence) on combined flutamide (125 mg/d) and metformin (1275 mg/d). Body composition was assessed by dual-energy x-ray absorptiometry; endocrine-metabolic state and ovulation rate were screened every 3 months. Insulin sensitivity was assessed by homeostasis model assessment (HOMA). Overnight GH and LH profiles were obtained pretreatment and after 6 months on treatment (n = 8). Over the 3-month pretreatment control phase (n = 14) all study indices were unchanged. Flutamide-metformin treatment (n = 30) was followed within 3 months by marked decreases in hirsutism score and serum androgens, by a more than 50% increase in insulin sensitivity and by a less atherogenic lipid profile (all P < 0.0001). After 9 months on flutamide-metformin, body fat decreased by 10%, with a preferential 20% loss of abdominal fat; conversely lean body mass increased, and total body weight remained unchanged; ovulation rate increased from 7-87% after 9 months. Baseline GH hypersecretion and elevated serum IGF-1 normalized after 6 months on flutamide-metformin. Within 3 months post treatment (n = 16), a rebound was observed for all assessed indices. In conclusion, in teenage girls with ovarian hyperandrogenism, low-dose combined flutamide-metformin therapy attenuated a spectrum of abnormalities, including insulin resistance and hyperlipidemia. Improved insulin sensitivity and reduced androgen activity led to a marked redistribution of body fat and lean mass, resulting in a more feminine body shape.




Ibáñez, L., Ong, K., Ferrer, A., Amin, R., Dunger, D., & De Zegher, F. (2003). Low-dose flutamide-metformin therapy reverses insulin resistance and reduces fat mass in nonobese adolescents with ovarian hyperandrogenism. Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism, 88(6), 2600–2606. https://doi.org/10.1210/jc.2002-022002

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