Find out everything you need to know about fertility medications
Oral and injectable fertility medications make pregnancy possible for many patients who haven’t been able to conceive. At Fertility Specialists of Texas, we prescribe may types of medicines, depending on a patient’s needs.
Clomid is the first choice for ovulation induction in most women
Clomiphene citrate (Clomid, Serophene) is a solid fertility medication, given its safety , effectiveness and cost. Treatment with it improves the timing and frequency of ovulation. It also enhances the possibility of conception for the patient who ovulates only occasionally.
It works by increasing the levels of FSH (follicle-stimulation hormone) and LH (luteinizing hormone). This leads to ovulation and a more predictable cycle length.
When you are planning a clomiphene cycle, call our office on the first or second day of your menstrual cycle. If you start on a weekend, call on Monday morning. The nurse will talk with you about the cycle, schedule an ultrasound and call your prescription to the pharmacy. Ovulation usually occurs approximately seven days after the last pill.
If you have no menstrual cycle, we will prescribe progesterone to induce a menses. After 5 days of progestin therapy, a period occurs. Then you will start clomiphene on the fifth day of bleeding.
Of the women who conceive on this drug, approximately 90% do so within the first 3-4 cycles of taking the medication. If you are not pregnant after this time, we will schedule a consultation with your physician to discuss further treatment options.
What are the side effects of these fertility medications?
For most women side effects are minimal and transient, but this is variable. The most common side effect is hot flashes during the time you are taking the medication. Other side effects can include nausea, breast tenderness, mood changes, depression and vaginal dryness.
Letrozole is another one of the fertility medications
We offer use Letrozole as an infertility treatment. This drug induces an egg to develop and release in women who are not ovulating naturally. Fertility medication can also increase the probability of pregnancy in women who are already ovulating.
Pregnancy rates with letrozole are similar to those seen with clomid. They are lower than the pregnancy rates seen with gonadotropins. Older patients will have a reduced chance of success than younger patients. Treatment with letrozole may still be successful even if other treatments have failed. Some data has shown that in women who did not ovulate with clomiphene citrate, may ovulate with letrozole.
Letrozole can improve outcomes in cycles combining injectable fertility medications with oral ovulation induction. Recent studies report that the combination of letrozole and FSH enhances follicular recruitment. It also reduces the amount of FSH, thus reducing the cost of the cycle. This method has also been useful in patients who previously responded poorly to other treatment protocols.
What are the side effects?
Letrozole works by reducing estrogen levels. Low estrogen levels may cause a woman to have symptoms. The treatment duration for letrozole is only 5 days. In our practice, we have seen side effects that are comparable to those seen with clomid.
- Hot flashes
- Breast tenderness
Injectable fertility medications include human menopausal gonadotropins (hMGs). They include follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) and luteinizing hormone (LH). Injectable hMGs help several eggs mature within the ovaries. These medications come in prefilled cartridges arrive with ready-to-use medication. As a result, there’s no mixing or preparation.
You or your partner will administer the injections at home. However, one of our nurses will carefully review the injection process with you before you leave the office.
We will review each patient’s age, medical history and individual fertility problems. Patients under the age of 35 often start with Clomid for 3-4 months. If no pregnancy occurs, we may move to injectable fertility medications. If a patient is over 35, she may begin treatment with gonadotropins.
What are the potential risks of injectable fertility medications?
Because your ovaries have produced a higher number of eggs than they usually do, they may become enlarged causing you to have abdominal bloating and weight gain of 2-3 pounds. If you experience symptoms of pelvic pain, bloating, weight gain of more than 8 pounds, vomiting, difficulty breathing or decreased urine output, please report this to our physicians or staff immediately.
The other major risk of gonadotropin therapy is multiple gestation. However, regular monitoring can help reduce this risk.
Contact us to learn more about fertility medications.