Infertility Pills: Learning More About Fertility Medications
The list of infertility pills and other drugs available to treat infertility is long and constantly growing. Over the years, new medications have been developed, old ones have been replaced by better ones, and women who struggle to conceive are being presented with more and more options to conquer their infertility issues.
The inability to achieve pregnancy occurs for several different reasons. As such, an infertility specialist will choose the drugs and other treatments that he or she believes offer the most optimal solution for the patient. Nonetheless, it helps to be familiar with – but not overwhelmed by – the medication choices you might encounter on your fertility journey. Here is a description of two of the most commonly prescribed options.
Clomiphene Citrate, more commonly known as Clomid, is an ovulatory induction drug that earned the award for the most frequently used infertility pill in the United States and most other countries. This oral medication stimulates the hypothalamus and pituitary gland to release hormones that are associated with, and induce, ovulation, namely gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH), follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH), and luteinizing hormone (LH).
Doctors generally prescribe 50 mg of Clomid daily for 5 days commencing on the third to the fifth day of the menstrual cycle. Generally, ovulation occurs within approximately 7 days after the last dose is taken. If ovulation is determined not to occur, the dosage will be adjusted and increased for the following month(s).
Research demonstrates that pregnancy generally occurs within the first 3 or 4 months of taking Clomid and maximally up to 6 months. In addition, that evidence shows no medical benefit in prescribing this drug for longer than that.
There are some side effects associated with Clomid and other ovulatory stimulation drugs. However, these are generally mild and easily manageable. Most are less severe than those associated with other infertility medications and include headaches, bloating, occasional ovarian cyst formation, which is temporary, and, rarely, hot flashes. Those considering treatment with this infertility pill should also be aware that multiple births are possible with Clomid, in the range of 10%, with well over 90% being twin pregnancies.
Does Clomid work well? Data shows that upwards of 80 percent of females who take Clomid will ovulate, and about half of those patients will achieve pregnancy. For many women facing infertility, that is a number that provides a glimmer of hope in their journey toward starting a family.
Another treatment option for infertility is the classic fertility drug known as Gonadotropins. These are not taken orally but are an injectable treatment rather than an ovulatory pill.
Gonadotropins are often used in cases where Clomid has not been effective. They are injected subcutaneously (under the skin), whereas, in the past, they were injected directly into the muscle. Injections generally begin on day 2 or 3 of the menstrual cycle and continue for 8-12 days based on the individual patient’s response. Most women learn to inject themselves or have a family member or friend do it for them, and as such, it is not necessary to go to one’s doctor’s office each day for these shots.
Gonadotropins are bio-identical to the hormones that the body makes (or should make) and prompt the ovaries to recruit eggs and release them for fertilization. In some instances, these injectable drugs are used in combination with Clomid.
Many women treated with these drugs achieve ovulation, and depending on their specific fertility condition, upwards of 50 percent can get pregnant, according to some recent ongoing data. As with Clomid, some side effects can be expected, including infrequent changes in mood and an increased chance of multiple births. On rare occasions, the patient may experience ovarian hyperstimulation, where the ovaries enlarge and leak fluid into the pelvis. However, if carefully monitored by a reproductive specialist, this is usually mild and should resolve with appropriate intervention. Nevertheless, your doctor will be on the lookout for this if unusual discomfort is present.
Which infertility pills are for me?
These two therapeutic options are currently the most prescribed treatments used to help stimulate ovulation and achieve conception. Certainly, however, there can never be one set of infertility pills or fertility treatment that works for all. What may be ideal for one woman with fertility issues may not work for another. That is why consulting a fertility specialist is the wisest choice when addressing what might prevent you from getting pregnant. A specialist will review your medical history and perform examinations and tests that can help you find the answers you seek. At Advanced Reproductive Medicine, our cutting-edge fertility and IVF treatments offer a high success rate. If you are ready to embark upon this journey, we are ready to guide and travel with you as you learn how you might best achieve your dream of being a parent. For more information or schedule a consultation, call us at 732-339-9300.Go back