We sought to compare the efficacy of the letrozole (LTZ) stair-step protocol with clomiphene citrate (CC) stair-step protocol in the management of 150 mg dose of CC-resistant polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) patients.
We retrospectively compared a total of 61 patients diagnosed as being resistant to the traditional CC protocol who were subsequently managed using the LTZ stair-step protocol with CC-resistant 56 patients who were treated with CC stair-step protocol. The number of follicles ≥18 mm, endometrial thickness, time to ovulation, clinical pregnancy rates, multiple pregnancy rates, spontaneous abortion rates, live birth rates, and systemic side effects in patients were evaluated.
The mean time to ovulation was significantly shorter in the LTZ stair-step group than the CC stair-step group (17.3 ± 7.7 and 22.4 ± 8.1 days, respectively, p < 0.001). The ovulation rate was significantly higher in patients treated with LTZ stair-step protocol than those treated with the CC stair-step protocol (83.6% and 64.2%, respectively, p = 0.007). The clinical pregnancy rate was higher in the LTZ stair-step than the CC stair-step group (32.7% and 17.8%, respectively, p = 0.015). LTZ stair-step group had a significantly higher live birth rate than that of the CC stair-step group (27.8% and 14.2%, respectively, p = 0.012).
The LTZ stair-step protocol revealed higher ovulation, clinical pregnancy, and live birth rates with a shorter time to achieve ovulation than the CC stair-step protocol. Increment of the dose in the same cycle in both protocols did not cause any additional severe side effects.

© 2021 Japan Society of Obstetrics and Gynecology.