Endocrine Abstracts (2004) 7 P39

A randomised controlled trial of laser treatment among hirsute women with polycystic ovary syndrome

W Clayton1, M Lipton2, L Sherr2, M Rustin1 & J Elford3


1Department of Dermatology, Royal Free Hampstead NHS Trust, London, UK; 2Primary Care and Population Sciences, Royal Free and University College Medical School, London UK; 3Insitute of Health Sciences, City University, London, UK.


Objective: To evaluate the impact of laser treatment on the severity of facial hirsutism as well as psychological morbidity in women with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS).

Methods: Randomised controlled trial of 5 high fluence treatments (intervention) or 5 low fluence treatments (control) over 6 months. 88 women with facial hirsutism due to PCOS were recruited from hospital outpatient clinics and a patient support group in 2002. Main outcomes were self reported severity of facial hair (measured on an analogue scale of 1 - 10), depression, anxiety (measured on the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale) and quality of life (measured on the WHOQOL-BREF).

Results: Self reported severity of facial hair in the intervention group (n=51) fell from 7.3 to 3.6 over the six month study period. For the control group (n=37) the corresponding change was 7.1 to 6.1 (ANCOVA F(1,83)=24.5, p<0.05). The change was significantly greater in the intervention group. Self reported time spent on hair removal declined from 112 to 21 minutes per week in the intervention group and from 92 to 56 minutes in the control group (F(1,80)=10.2, p=<0.05). Mean depression scores fell from 6.6 to 3.6 in the intervention group compared with 6.1 to 5.4 in the control group (F(1,83)=14.7, p<0.05). A similar change was seen for mean anxiety scores: intervention 11.1 to 8.2, control 9.6 to 9.3 (F(1,84)=17.8, p<0.05). Psychological quality of life also improved more in the intervention group. The mean scores changed from 49.1 to 61.2 compared with 51.0 and 51.5 in the controls (F(1,84)=10.9, p<0.05).

Conclusion: Laser treatment appeared to reduce the severity of facial hair and time spent on hair removal as well as alleviating depression and anxiety in women with polycystic ovary syndrome. These findings suggest that laser treatment offers an alternative to pharmaceutical interventions in this group of women.

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