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Fertility Drugs

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Injectable Hormones for Infertility

If Clomid on its own isn't successful, your doctor may recommend injectable hormones to stimulate ovulation. Some of the types are:

  • Human Chorionic Gonadotropin (hCG), such as Pregnyl, Novarel, Ovidrel, and Profasi. This drug is usually used along with other fertility drugs to trigger the ovaries to release the mature egg or eggs.
  • Follicle Stimulating Hormone (FSH), such as Follistim, Fertinex, Bravelle, and Gonal-F
  • Human Menopausal Gonadotropin (hMG), such as Pergonal, Repronex, and Metrodin. This drug combines both FSH and LH (luteinizing hormone).
  • Gonadotropin Releasing Hormone (GnRH), such as Factrel and Lutrepulse. This hormone stimulates the release of FSH and LH from the pituitary gland. These hormones are rarely prescribed in the U.S.
  • Gonadotropin Releasing Hormone Agonist (GnRH agonist), such as Lupron, Zoladex, and Synarel
  • Gonadotropin Releasing Hormone Antagonist (GnRH antagonist), such as Antagon and Cetrotide

Indication: Any of these hormonal drugs can be used to stimulate or control ovulation as a way of treating a number of infertility problems.

Use: All these drugs are given by injection only and in varying doses depending on how they are being used. Some are given beneath the skin while others are injected into the muscle. Injection sites can include the stomach, upper arm, upper thigh, or buttocks. The injections are usually started on the second or third day of your cycle (with the first day being the first day you see bright red blood) and given for seven to 12 consecutive days. Some patients will be prescribed both injections and oral Clomid.

Effectiveness: As with clomiphene, the injectable hormones have a high rate of success in stimulating women to ovulate. Of those who ovulate, as many as 50% are able to get pregnant.

Side effects: Most side effects are mild and can include tenderness; infection; and blood blisters, swelling, or bruising at the injection site. There is also a risk of ovarian hyperstimulation, a condition in which the ovaries become enlarged and tender. Ovulation-stimulating drugs also increase the chances pregnancy with multiples, which can raise the risks for both mother and child.

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