RESEARCH DESIGN AND METHODS Using a large U.K. primary care database (The Health Improvement Network [THIN]; 3.7 million patients from 787 practices), we carried out a retrospective population-based cohort study to determine dysglycemia risk (64,051 women with PCOS and 123,545 matched control subjects), as well as a nested pharmacoepidemiological case-control study to investigate COCP use in relation to dysglycemia risk (2,407 women with PCOS with [case subjects] and without [control subjects] a diagnosis of dysglycemia during follow-up). Cox models were used to estimate the unadjusted and adjusted hazard ratio, and conditional logistic regression was used to obtain adjusted odds ratios (aORs).
RESULTS The adjusted hazard ratio for dysglycemia in women with PCOS was 1.87 (95% CI 1.78–1.97, P < 0.001; adjustment for age, social deprivation, BMI, ethnicity, and smoking), with increased rates of dysglycemia in all BMI subgroups. Women with PCOS and COCP use had a reduced dysglycemia risk (aOR 0.72, 95% CI 0.59–0.87).
CONCLUSIONS In this study, limited by its retrospective nature and the use of routinely collected electronic general practice record data, which does not allow for exclusion of the impact of prescription-by-indication bias, women with PCOS exposed to COCPs had a reduced risk of dysglycemia across all BMI subgroups. Future prospective studies should be considered for further understanding of these observations and potential causality.