Clinical Edge

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Impact of Oral Contraceptives, Weight Loss on HDL, LDL

Clin Endocrinol; ePub 2017 Mar 9; Dokras, et al

Overweight/obese women with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) who used oral contraceptives experienced both an improved HDL-C function and a poorer LDL-C profile, according to a secondary analysis of a randomized controlled trial involving 87 women. Adding a lifestyle program improved the negative impact.

Participants—all of whom had PCOS and were overweight/obese—were assigned to receive 1) oral contraceptives; 2) lifestyle modification; or 3) both for 16 weeks. Investigators looked at impact on cholesterol levels. Among the results:

  • HDL-C efflux capacity increased significantly in the oral contraceptive group only.
  • After adjusting for HDL-C and triglycerides, efflux change was significant in the combination group as well.
  • Change in HDL-C efflux correlated inversely with change in testosterone levels.
  • Oral contraceptives alone induced an atherogenic LDL-C profile; the other 2 groups did not experience such.

The authors concluded that combining oral contraceptives with lifestyle changes might be beneficial in overweight/obese women with PCOS.


Dokras A, Playford M, Kris-Etherton P, et al. Impact of hormonal contraception and weight loss on high-density lipoprotein cholesterol efflux and lipoprotein particles in women with polycystic ovary syndrome. [Published online ahead of print March 9, 2017]. Clin Endocrinol. doi:10.1111/cen.13310.

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