Overview Of Fertility Drugs
The Versatility Of Medications
When it comes to the treatment of infertility there have been many strides forward. Often, medications which were originally developed for a specific disease or condition can cross over to be used effectively in the treatment of other conditions and diseases. Such is the case with some drugs used today in the treatment of infertility.
Overall, fertility drugs are designed to influence ovulation. Some trigger ovulation while others suppress ovulation. They are also used in cases of recurrent miscarriage. Sometimes a man has fertility issues and in order for the couple to conceive, in vitro fertilization is necessary. In a case such as this, fertility drugs may be used to increase the number of eggs the woman produces in order to retrieve them for fertilization.
Commonly Prescribed Fertility Drugs And What They Do
In this article we will look at the most familiar and commonly prescribed fertility drugs and what they do.
Clomid, Serophene: This is the most commonly used fertility drug and is often the first choice in treating ovulatory problems. When compared to gonadotropins, the risks are lower for multiple pregnancy and ovulation hyperstimulation syndrome and the side effects are less.
Femera: This drug was not intended as a fertility drug but rather was developed to treat menopausal women with breast cancer. It has proven to be as effective as Clomid for ovulation induction. However, there is concern that the drug may also be responsible for an increase in birth defects when taken while the woman is pregnant. Since fertility treatments are given before pregnancy, many doctors argue that Femera cannot be responsible for birth defects.
Follisim, Gonal-F: Both of these drugs mimic follicle stimulating hormone which naturally occurs in the body of a woman. They are lab creations, using recombinant DNA technology. Taken by self-injection, they can be used with IVI, IUI or timed sexual intercourse.
Bravelle, Fertinex: Rather than being created in a lab, these FSH drugs are made from the actual hormone which has been extracted and purified from the urine of post-menopausal women. They are less potent than the manufactured variety and also less expensive. As with Follisim and Gonal-F, they are self-injected at home.
Ovidrel, Novarel, Pregnyl: All of these drugs are meant to mimic luteinizing hormone (LH) in the body. LH triggers ovulation and are made of hCG, extracted from the urine of pregnant women. These drugs are injectables and are used during IVF, IUI and after FSH treatments.
Antagon, Cetrotide: GnRH antagonists work against the LH and FSH hormones in the body. These drugs are used during IVF treatments to prevent the loss of eggs which have ovulated before they can be retrieved. They are also used during IUI treatments if fertilization must be delayed and are used to reduce the risk of ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome which happens if estrogen is too high.
Lupron, Synarel, Zoladex: Known as GnRH agonists, they cause a surge of LH and FSH and then cause production to cease, preventing ovulation and limiting estrogen. Used in IVF, these drugs allow the doctors to control ovulation.
Pergonal, Humegon, Repronex, Menopur: Human menopausal gonadotropins (hMG), these fertility drugs are a combination of LH and FSH. They are not used frequently, often just in special cases. These too are injectables.
Remember, these are drugs and as with all drugs, there are risks and side effects. High order multiple pregnancy and ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome are potential effects of the use of these drugs.