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Common Treatment of Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome and Major Depressive Disorder: Case Report and Review

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We present the case of a young woman with treatment-resistant major depression, who presented to the Mood Disorders Clinic with a Hamilton Psychiatric Rating Scale for Depression (HAM-D-21) score of 28, after a year-long treatment with Effexor-XR. The patient also had untreated Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS). The resolution of her depressive symptoms resulted from the treatment for PCOS with metformin and spironolactone. The patient remained euthymic 5 months after discontinuation of the antidepressant while continuing therapy for PCOS.

We briefly overview of the pertinent literature of the pathophysiology of PCOS and affective disorders, highlighting an overlap in phenotypical presentations between these two disorders. Dysregulation of the hypothalamo-pituitary axis and various end organ systems are implicated in both PCOS and affective disorders. As such, several clinical and biochemical markers are common to both disorders, namely insulin resistance, obesity, and hyperandrogenism. In addition, these metabolic abnormalities are interrelated, causing women with PCOS or affective disorders to get caught in a ”vicious cycle“ of hormonal dysregulation. The case report presented here illustrates how treatment of symptoms such as insulin resistance and hyperandrogenism can lead to remission of major depressive disorder and PCOS. We suggest that through treatment of underlying metabolic defects, both the mood of the patient and the metabolic condition of PCOS can be assisted.

Keywords: glucocorticoid receptors; mineralocorticoid receptors; polycystic ovarian syndrome (pcos)

Document Type: Review Article

Publication date: April 1, 2002

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