Randomised controlled trials (RCTs) of drug therapy for women with idiopathic hirsutism or polycystic ovary syndrome were eligible for the review. Studies that included women with congenital adrenal hyperplasia or of drugs outside routine treatment (ketoconazole, analogues of gonadotrophin-releasing hormone, cimetidine, dexamethasone and cyproterone not in combination with an oral contraceptive pill) were excluded. Eligible studies had to measure outcomes with the mean Ferriman-Gallwey (F-G) score over six months of treatment.
Included trials were of women with mean body mass index (BMI) in the range 20.8kg/m2 to 37.8kg/m2. Baseline F-G scores ranged from nine to 28.4. Studies compared two or more drugs to each other or to placebo. Some studies assessed drugs in combination. Included treatments were: metabolism moderators (metformin, thiazolidinediones, acarbose and sibutramine); oral contraceptive pills (ethinyl oestradiol with progestogens, cyproterone acetate, desogestrel, levonorgestrel, gestodene); antiandrogens (ethinyl oestradiol with cyproterone acetate, spironolactone, finasteride, flutamide); and combinations of these treatments. Doses varied between studies. Study duration ranged from six to 12 months.
The authors stated neither how the papers were selected for the review nor how many reviewers performed the selection.