Two Texas women explain how medications like type 2 diabetes drugs Mounjaro and Ozempic have helped alleviate symptoms of PCOS, or polycystic ovary syndrome
Two Texas women are opening up about taking the type 2 diabetes drug Mounjaro in order to help their symptoms of PCOS, or polycystic ovary syndrome.
Tiffany Groves, 38, spoke to Good Morning America about struggling for a decade after being diagnosed with PCOS — a hormone imbalance that affects 1 in 10 women of childbearing age. The condition can cause symptoms like irregular periods, excess hair growth, acne, weight gain and infertility.
In October 2022, Groves learned about Mounjaro on social media and started taking the medication off-label for her PCOS symptoms. Mounjaro is an FDA-approved prescription medication for people with type 2 diabetes. It's a brand name for tirzepatide, which has been proven to be highly effective for weight loss by reducing appetite and improving how the body breaks down sugar and fat.
Groves told the outlet that after taking the medication she quickly lost 43 lbs. and started experiencing regular menstrual cycles for the first time in her life.
"This whole time I've been living life and thinking it's normal to think about food all the time and then all of a sudden, you don't think about food," she said. "I can just eat a little bit and be perfectly fine."
Dr. Rekha Kumar, an endocrinologist at Weill Cornell Medicine and NewYork-Presbyterian and expert in obesity and PCOS, told the outlet that these medications can help with insulin resistance, a health issue that can be caused by the condition.
"It's not necessarily that we're using the meds to treat PCOS, but the meds can be helpful for one of the symptoms of PCOS, which is the actual weight gain and hormonal drive to eat carbohydrate because of the insulin resistance," Kumar explained. "What we've learned in the past 20 years is that PCOS is actually an insulin-carbohydrate-metabolism problem called insulin resistance, meaning the body makes more insulin in response to carbohydrates.”
She continued, "And what people often forget about insulin is that it's a fat storage-promoting hormone, so the more insulin your body is making, the better you are at storing fat."
Additionally, Branneisha Cooper, 26, told GMA that she started taking Mounjaro in November 2022 after being diagnosed with PCOS when she was in high school. She has since lost over 40 lbs., has experienced reduced inflammation and has a regular menstrual cycle.
"[My doctor] said, 'There's this great medication and I have a couple of women on it already who also have PCOS,'" she recalled. "Since starting on Mounjaro, it has honestly just been like a stress relief. I feel like a weight has been lifted off my shoulders."
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"Prior to being on this medication, I thought it was just a me problem, that there was just something that I wasn't getting right that other people were," Cooper told the outlet. "It wasn't until I [went] on Mounjaro and realized it's a chronic disease ... and you weren't the problem."
Cooper stressed that taking the medication is “so much more than weight loss for me” as she’s now hoping to become pregnant after dealing with PCOS-related infertility for years.
Kumar noted to GMA that as many women with PCOS deal with infertility, it’s important that they avoid using Mounjaro, Ozempic and Wegovy while pregnant or trying to become pregnant.
"We just have to really make sure that patients understand the risks and the unknowns of getting pregnant on these medicines, because when we do treat people's insulin resistance, they become more fertile," Kumar told the outlet. "Women who thought that they could never get pregnant, if you're treating them with these medicines, they might, so we just have to be very careful with educating on the risks."
The FDA said in a report that there is insufficient data on the effects of these drugs on pregnant patients. However, women are urged to avoid use during pregnancy. The agency states "weight loss offers no benefit to a pregnant patient and may cause fetal harm" and that pregnant women should stop using the drugs at least two months before a planned pregnancy.
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