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Fertility Drugs

(continued)

Injectable Hormones for Infertility continued...

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.

Other Fertility Drugs

  • Aspirin. Studies have shown that aspirin can reduce the risk of miscarriage in certain cases, although you should talk to your doctor about whether it makes sense for you.
  • Heparin. A drug used to lower the risk of miscarriage in women who have repeated spontaneous miscarriages.
  • Antagon (ganirelix acetate). An injected drug that is used to inhibit premature ovulation in women undergoing fertility procedures. Side effects can include stomach pain, headache, and fetal death.
  • Parlodel and Dostinex (bromocriptine and cabergoline). These are medications used to lower prolactin hormone levels and reduce the size of a pituitary tumor that may be decreasing ovulation when present. They are usually given orally in small doses and increased as needed. They can also be administered by placing the tablet in the vagina. Side effects include dizziness and upset stomach.
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Reviewed on July 22, 2012
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