Whether a woman who has difficulty getting pregnant decides to consult with her general practitioner, OB-GYN, or assisted reproductive therapy specialist, chances are that she will be introduced to any number of fertility drugs. These medications may be all that is needed to overcome reproductive difficulties and help her get pregnant.
Here is a brief overview of some medications your doctor is most likely to prescribe to help you overcome female infertility.
Clomiphene Citrate (Clomid): It inhibits negative feedback on the hypothalamus, resulting in the stimulation of follicle stimulating hormone (FSH) and luteinizing hormone (LH) production. These hormones are vital in order for conception to occur: FSH stimulates the ripening of ovarian follicles, and LH triggers the release of an egg. Possible side effects include breast tenderness, nausea, vomiting, vaginal dryness, hot flashes, moodiness, and irritability. Up to ten percent of women who use clomiphene citrate become pregnant with twins or higher-order multiple births.
Follicle Stimulating Hormone (Follistim, Gonal-f): FSH is a natural hormone produced by the body that is important for maturation of the eggs.The synthetic version of the hormone has the identical mechanism of action. FSH can be prescribed to help induce ovulation or stimulate the production of multiple eggs to be harvested for IVF. Possible side effects include breast tenderness, headaches, irritabilityand muscle soreness. Ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome (OHSS) can also occur. OHSS occurs seven to ten days after starting treatment and affects 5 to ten percent of women, though less than 1 percent will experience severe OHSS.
Gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH) antagonist (Antagon): This injectable is used to increase the production of luteinizing hormone (LH) and follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH), which triggers the pituitary gland to temporarily stop producing GnRH, preventing ovulation. Possible side effects include vaginal dryness, hot flashes, insomnia, and headaches. When it is not taken paired with ovulation stimulating treatment, menopausal-like conditions may occur.
Human Menopausal Gonadotropin (Pergonal, Repronex): This is an injectable combination of LH and FSH. It is designed to induce ovulation.
Human Chorionic Gonadotropin (hCG) (Pregnyl, Novarel): The injectable hormone hCG helps stimulate egg maturation and release from the mature ovarian follicle. Side effects include pain and swelling at the injection site, abdominal pain, nausea and vomiting, and OHSS.
Leuprolide (Lupron): A synthetic gonadotropin inhibitor, it is typically used in women undergoing IVF.The medicine suppresses LH and FSH to keep a woman from releasing immature follicles and eggs. Side effects include the following common symptoms: hot flashes, breast tenderness, sweating, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, constipation, an increased need to urinate, and vaginal dryness.