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Review: the current evidence does not suggest that oral contraceptives hasten resolution of functional ovarian cysts

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 Q Are oral contraceptives (OCs) effective for treatment of functional ovarian cysts?

Clinical impact ratings GP/FP/Primary care ★★★★★★☆ Gynaecology ★★★★★★☆


Embedded ImageData sources:

PubMed, CENTRAL, POPLINE, EMBASE/Excerpta Medica, authors of published trials, and reference lists.

Embedded ImageStudy selection and assessment:

randomised controlled trials (RCTs) that compared an OC (any type, regimen, or duration) with no treatment, placebo, or another treatment for functional ovarian cysts (including those related to fertility treatment) in women of reproductive age. Trials of ovarian cyst prevention and those that were quasi-randomised were excluded. 4 RCTs (n = 227) met the selection criteria. Quality assessment of individual trials included randomisation method, allocation concealment, blinding, withdrawals, and follow up.

Embedded ImageOutcomes:

resolution of cysts (assessed by ultrasonography or physical examination).


Because of variations in …

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  • For correspondence: Dr D Grimes, Family Health International, Durham, NC, USA. dgrimes{at}

  • Sources of funding: US Agency for International Development and National Institute of Child Health and Human Development