Recommendations from the 2023 International Evidence-based Guideline for the Assessment and Management of Polycystic Ovary Syndrome

Helena J. Teede*, Chau Thien Tay, Joop Laven, International PCOS Network, Anuja Dokras, Lisa J. Moran, Terhi T. Piltonen, Michael F. Costello, Jacky Boivin, Leanne M. Redman, Jacqueline Boyle, Robert Norman, Aya Mousa, Anju E. Joham

*Corresponding author for this work

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Abstract

STUDY QUESTION: What is the recommended assessment and management of those with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), based on the best available evidence, clinical expertise, and consumer preference? SUMMARY ANSWER: International evidence-based guidelines address prioritized questions and outcomes and include 254 recommendations and practice points, to promote consistent, evidence-based care and improve the experience and health outcomes in PCOS. WHAT IS KNOWN ALREADY: The 2018 International PCOS Guideline was independently evaluated as high quality and integrated multidisciplinary and consumer perspectives from six continents; it is now used in 196 countries and is widely cited. It was based on best available, but generally very low to low quality, evidence. It applied robust methodological processes and addressed shared priorities. The guideline transitioned from consensus based to evidence-based diagnostic criteria and enhanced accuracy of diagnosis, whilst promoting consistency of care. However, diagnosis is still delayed, the needs of those with PCOS are not being adequately met, evidence quality was low and evidence-practice gaps persist. STUDY DESIGN, SIZE, DURATION: The 2023 International Evidence-based Guideline update reengaged the 2018 network across professional societies and consumer organizations with multidisciplinary experts and women with PCOS directly involved at all stages. Extensive evidence synthesis was completed. Appraisal of Guidelines for Research and Evaluation-II (AGREEII)-compliant processes were followed. The Grading of Recommendations, Assessment, Development, and Evaluation (GRADE) framework was applied across evidence quality, feasibility, acceptability, cost, implementation and ultimately recommendation strength and diversity and inclusion were considered throughout. PARTICIPANTS/ MATERIALS, SETTING, METHODS: This summary should be read in conjunction with the full Guideline for detailed participants and methods. Governance included a six-continent international advisory and management committee, five guideline development groups, and paediatric, consumer, and translation committees. Extensive consumer engagement and guideline experts informed the update scope and priorities. Engaged international society-nominated panels included paediatrics, endocrinology, gynaecology, primary care, reproductive endocrinology, obstetrics, psychiatry, psychology, dietetics, exercise physiology, obesity care, public health and other experts, alongside consumers, project management, evidence synthesis, statisticians and translation experts. Thirty-nine professional and consumer organizations covering 71 countries engaged in the process. Twenty meetings and five face-to-face forums over 12 months addressed 58 prioritized clinical questions involving 52 systematic and 3 narrative reviews. Evidence-based recommendations were developed and approved via consensus across five guideline panels, modified based on international feedback and peer review, independently reviewed for methodological rigour, and approved by the Australian Government National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC). MAIN RESULTS AND THE ROLE OF CHANCE: The evidence in the assessment and management of PCOS has generally improved in the past five years, but remains of low to moderate quality. The technical evidence report and analyses (∼6000 pages) underpins 77 evidence-based and 54 consensus recommendations, with 123 practice points. Key updates include: i) further refinement of individual diagnostic criteria, a simplified diagnostic algorithm and inclusion of anti-Müllerian hormone (AMH) levels as an alternative to ultrasound in adults only; ii) strengthening recognition of broader features of PCOS including metabolic risk factors, cardiovascular disease, sleep apnea, very high prevalence of psychological features, and high risk status for adverse outcomes during pregnancy; iii) emphasizing the poorly recognized, diverse burden of disease and the need for greater healthcare professional education, evidence-based patient information, improved models of care and shared decision making to improve patient experience, alongside greater research; iv) maintained emphasis on healthy lifestyle, emotional wellbeing and quality of life, with awareness and consideration of weight stigma; and v) emphasizing evidence-based medical therapy and cheaper and safer fertility management. LIMITATIONS, REASONS FOR CAUTION: Overall, recommendations are strengthened and evidence is improved, but remain generally low to moderate quality. Significantly greater research is now needed in this neglected, yet common condition. Regional health system variation was considered and acknowledged, with a further process for guideline and translation resource adaptation provided. WIDER IMPLICATIONS OF THE FINDINGS: The 2023 International Guideline for the Assessment and Management of PCOS provides clinicians and patients with clear advice on best practice, based on the best available evidence, expert multidisciplinary input and consumer preferences. Research recommendations have been generated and a comprehensive multifaceted dissemination and translation programme supports the Guideline with an integrated evaluation program. STUDY FUNDING/COMPETING INTEREST(S): This effort was primarily funded by the Australian Government via the National Health Medical Research Council (NHMRC) (APP1171592), supported by a partnership with American Society for Reproductive Medicine, Endocrine Society, European Society for Human Reproduction and Embryology, and the Society for Endocrinology. The Commonwealth Government of Australia also supported Guideline translation through the Medical Research Future Fund (MRFCRI000266). HJT and AM are funded by NHMRC fellowships. JT is funded by a Royal Australasian College of Physicians (RACP) fellowship. Guideline development group members were volunteers. Travel expenses were covered by the sponsoring organizations. Disclosures of interest were strictly managed according to NHMRC policy and are available with the full guideline, technical evidence report, peer review and responses (www.monash.edu/medicine/mchri/pcos). Of named authors HJT, CTT, AD, LM, LR, JBoyle, AM have no conflicts of interest to declare. JL declares grant from Ferring and Merck; consulting fees from Ferring and Titus Health Care; speaker's fees from Ferring; unpaid consultancy for Ferring, Roche Diagnostics and Ansh Labs; and sits on advisory boards for Ferring, Roche Diagnostics, Ansh Labs, and Gedeon Richter. TP declares a grant from Roche; consulting fees from Gedeon Richter and Organon; speaker's fees from Gedeon Richter and Exeltis; travel support from Gedeon Richter and Exeltis; unpaid consultancy for Roche Diagnostics; and sits on advisory boards for Roche Diagnostics. MC declares travels support from Merck; and sits on an advisory board for Merck. JBoivin declares grants from Merck Serono Ltd.; consulting fees from Ferring B.V; speaker's fees from Ferring Arzneimittell GmbH; travel support from Organon; and sits on an advisory board for the Office of Health Economics. RJN has received speaker's fees from Merck and sits on an advisory board for Ferring. AJoham has received speaker's fees from Novo Nordisk and Boehringer Ingelheim. The guideline was peer reviewed by special interest groups across our 39 partner and collaborating organizations, was independently methodologically assessed against AGREEII criteria and was approved by all members of the guideline development groups and by the NHMRC.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)767-793
Number of pages27
JournalFertility and Sterility
Volume120
Issue number4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2023

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