In general, fertility drugs for women work to overcome a variety of ovulation disorders. Although some of these drugs are combined with other treatments, they can be used alone, especially if a woman prefers to exhaust her options before submitting to any invasive procedures.
The overall goal of most—but not all fertility drugs for women is either to induce ovulation by stimulating some aspect of the ovaries or her pituitary gland into producing the necessary hormones. They are used in women who are either not ovulating at all, or not ovulating regularly.
Please keep in mind that these fertility drugs protocols often come in the form of injections, and that they may require frequent blood tests and ultrasound exams to make sure they’re working since, on rare occasions, they can cause other problems, such as ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome (OHSS), a serious but treatable health complication in which the ovaries become swollen. The possibility of developing OHSS from fertility drugs is another reason for the frequency of blood tests and ultrasounds.
Some of the more common fertility drugs:
Metformin is the drug of first choice today for women with PCOD. Doctors have now learned that many patients with PCOD also have insulin resistance, a condition similar to that found in diabetics, in that they have raised levels of insulin in their blood ( hyperinsulinemia) , and their response to insulin is blunted.
Medication Injections consist of basically 2 types of injections - intramuscular ( IM); and subcutaneous ( SC). There is very little risk of your harming yourself by giving yourself these injections. It's a good idea to practice on an orange to increase your confidence levels or request a nurse to supervise you the first time to give yourself a shot, so she can confirm you are doing a good job!
Letrozole is an oral drug in a class of medications called aromatase inhibitors, which was originally approved for treatment of advanced breast cancer. Doctors sometimes prescribe letrozole for women who don't ovulate on their own and who haven't responded to treatment with clomiphene citrate.
Gonadotropin-Releasing Hormones are medicines often used for women who don't ovulate regularly each month. Women who ovulate before the egg is ready can also use these medicines. Gn-RH analogs act on the pituitary gland to change when the body ovulates. These medicines are usually injected or given with a nasal spray. These drugs may be used for the treatment of endometriosis and fibroids.
Ganirelix allows the physician to precisely control the hormonal events occurring during the ovulatory cycle, including ovulation. IVF patients undergoing ovulation induction with FSH must not ovulate before their eggs are retrieved. Normally, the body releases a surge of LH to signal ovulation, which must not occur in an IVF cycle.
Follistim is a recombinant gonadotropin medication used to stimulate ovarian follicle growth approved for usage in the United States. Recombinant technology is used to create Gonal-F® and Follistim®. Although the FSH in these drugs is identical in structure and function to naturally occurring human FSH normally found in the body, it is not obtained from human urine. Recombinant DNA technology allows scientists to generate large, pure batches of FSH.
Estrogen may be administered late in the IVF cycle, usually by skin patches, in order to support the development of the embryo and stabilize the uterine lining. The most active form is that estrogen is estradiol, typically in the form of 17-beta estradiol. The largest group of women achieving pregnancy with the use of supplemental estrogen is the group who utilized super-ovulation in association with IVF, GIFT, or ZIFT.
Clomid: Clomiphene Citrate
Clomiphene Citrate is the chemical name for both Clomid and Serophene. It has been around for quite a while and among fertility drugs it has a very high profile and a sound track record. It works by instructing the brain to produce estrogen, resulting in increased egg production by the ovaries.
Human Chorionic Gonadotropin (hCG)
Human Chorionic Gonadotropin (hCG) comes under such names as Pregnyl and Profasi. In conjunction with other fertility drugs, hCG works to stimulate the ovaries into releasing eggs that have reached maturity.
Follicle Stimulating Hormone (FSH)
Follicle Stimulating Hormone (FSH) and Luteinising Hormone (LH) come under such names as Follistim, Gonal-F, Menopur and Merional, and they stimulate egg production in the ovaries. For this reason, they are often followed up by an injection of human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG).
Human Menopausal Gonadotropin (hMG)
Human Menopausal Gonadotropin (hMG) comes under such names as Pergonal and Metrodin and is sometimes used when fertility drugs like Clomid fail to work. By combining FSH and LH, hMG activates the pituitary gland to release these hormones, thereby stimulating ovulation. The same function holds true for Gonadotropin Releasing Hormone (Gn-RH), which comes under such names Factrel and Gonadorelin.
Bromocriptine comes under the name Parlodel. Bromocriptine can restore fertility in women by blocking the pituitary gland from producing a hormone called prolactin which, in extreme levels, gets in the way of ovulation and menstruation because it doesn’t allow for the production of FSH and LH.
ConceivingConcepts.com does not make treatment recommendations nor dispense medical advice for fertility drugs; only a physician or heath care provider is qualified to determine the proper treatment for any patient. The treatment options are presented for general education purposes only.