If you are trying to get pregnant for a while, your doctor may have prescribed various medications to help you realize your dreams. But you should know the side effects and precautions before undertaking a drug regiment.
There are four categories of medications that are used for infertility.
- Fertility drugs that stimulate ovulation
- Birth control drugs that suppress or control the menstrual cycle (used during IVF)
- Hormone treatments that treat other aspects of fertility
- Insulin-sensitizing drug like Metformin that treat an underlying medical condition impacting your fertility like PCOS
The most common medication used to help with infertility is Clomin. It is used to treat ovulatory dysfunction. It may also be recommended for couples diagnosed with unexplained infertility. Clomid is a tablet taken orally and is most often prescribed alone. But it’s also possible to combine Clomid with other medications, fertility drugs, or IUI treatment. While Clomid is usually given to women, men may also benefit from taking Clomid. For men it may help balance their hormones or increase their sperm count.
There are side effects with Clomid. The most common side effects are headache, hot flashes, and mood swings. Some risks of Clomid treatment include conceiving twins or a higher-order multiple pregnancy, ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome, and vision disturbances.
There are other drugs used to treat ovulation problems. Femara, or letrozole, may be prescribed instead of Clomid even though it is a breast cancer drug. According to some research, Femara may be more effective than Clomid in women with PCOS and women who are otherwise Clomid resistant. (Clomid resistant just means Clomid doesn’t stimulate ovulation as expected.) Like Clomid, Femara is taken orally. It may be used alone, alongside other medications or fertility drugs, or as a part of IUI treatment.
There are injectable drugs like Gonadotropins that stimulate the ovaries to mature and release eggs. They contain biologically similar follicle stimulation hormone (FSH), luteinizing hormone (LH) or a combination of the two. We can teach you how to inject yourself. Gonadotropins can be used alone or alongside other medications with timed sexual intercourse at home. They are also often used during IUI or IVF treatments. While gonadotropins are usually prescribed for women, men may also need to use it to improve testosterone levels and semen health.
The most common side effects of gonadotropins include headache, nausea, bloating, breast tenderness, mood swings, and irritation at the injection site. Your risk of conceiving twins, triplets, or higher order multiples is significantly higher with gonadotropins than with oral drugs like Clomid. Your risk of developing ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome is also much higher.
Drugs Used to Control or Suppress Ovulation During IVF Treatment
Some medications used during fertility treatment suppress ovulation.
There are two primary reasons:
- During IVF treatment, to prevent ovulation before the eggs can be retrieved surgically. Once the eggs are ovulated into the body, they cannot be found or used for IVF.
- To coordinate cycles with a potential egg donor or surrogate.
Birth control pills: These may be prescribed for the month before IVF treatment.
Birth control may also be used therapeutically. For example, women with PCOS who don’t respond to Clomid may have a better response to the drug if they take birth control pills for two months prior to treatment.
Antagon, Ganirelix, Cetrotide, Orgalutran (ganirelix acetate and cetrorelix acetate):These fertility drugs are GnRH antagonists. This means that they work against the hormones LH and FSH in the body, suppressing ovulation. They are taken via injection. The most common side effects include abdominal discomfort, headache, and injection side pain
Hormone treatments as fertility treatment
Dr Amos Madanes may prescribe other medications that help with infertility. He may prescribe progesterone if you experience recurrent miscarriage or have a suspected luteal phase defect. Progesterone may be taken as a vaginal suppository or injected. It is often injected during IVF. Dr Madanes may also prescribe estrogen for several reasons. If your endometrial lining is too thin, if you experience vaginal dryness or pain during sexual intercourse, or to improve the quality of your cervical mucus, you may need to use estrogen vaginal suppositories. A possible side effect of Clomid use is thicker cervical mucus, which can interfere with conception. Extended Clomid use can also lead to a thinner endometrial lining. Estrogen may help with these issues.
Medications to Treat Underlying Medical Conditions
It is possible that an underlying medical condition is causing your infertility. In these cases, that issue must be treated first. Treating the underlying issue is may be enough to improve your fertility. After treatment, you may be able to conceive on your own. This is why the first consultation with Dr Madanes is so important.
At Midwest Fertility Center, we treat endometriosis and PCOS (polycystic ovarian syndrome). One of the most common treatments for PCOS is glucophage or metformin. Metformin is a diabetes drug, intended to treat those with insulin resistance. Women with PCOS are frequently diagnosed with insulin resistance. Some research has shown that metformin treatment may help restart or regulate ovulation in women with PCOS. Other studies have found that it may reduce the miscarriage rate and help Clomid work in women who were unable to ovulate on Clomid alone.
At Midwest Fertility Center, we offer many treatments to significantly improve the chances of getting pregnant. As a patient of the Midwest Fertility Center, you can expect a program specifically tailored to your needs and administered by a team of specialists with years of professional experience.
At your first visit, you and your partner will meet with Dr Madanes to discuss your medical history, review your prior efforts to become pregnant, and develop a diagnostic plan.
Dr Madanes will then recommend you undergo an evaluation, which may include various laboratory tests and procedures, depending on your specific condition. This evaluation will provide the information needed to determine the best course of treatment.
Individual Treatment Plan
Once the evaluation is completed, Dr Madanes will meet with you to explain the results and describe your treatment options. The Midwest Fertility Center offers a complete range of the latest and most effective treatments.
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Medications for Inducing Ovulation: A Guide for Patients. American Society of Reproductive Medicine.
Ovarian Hyperstimulation Syndrome. Medical Encyclopedia, MedlinePlus.
Pratibha Singh, Manish Singh,1 Goutham Cugati,2 and Ajai Kumar Singh. “Hyperprolactinemia: an Often Missed Cause of Male Infertility.” J Hum Reprod Sci. 2011 May-Aug; 4(2): 102–103. doi: 10.4103/0974-1208.86094 PMCID: PMC3205532