Letrozole yields better results for women with PCOS

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Letrozole results in higher birth rates for women with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) than the current, more popular infertility treatment Clomiphine citrate. This is according to a nationwide study from Penn State College of Medicine.


PCOS affects up to 10% of reproductive–age women. It is the most common cause of female infertility. Women who have PCOS have excessive levels of the hormone androgen which causes infrequent menstruation, small cysts on the ovaries and usually trouble conceiving. Using drugs to stimulate ovulation is one way of treating the infertility caused by PCOS. Clomiphine citrate is generally the drug of choice for that purpose.

Drug intervention for infertility

“Clomiphene has its drawbacks,” noted Richard Legro, professor of obstetrics and gynecology and lead author on the study. “It’s only 22% successful with up to six cycles of treatment in producing a successful birth, it has a high multiple-pregnancy rate in comparison to unassisted conception, and it has side effects including hot flashes and mood changes.”

Letrozole blocks excess estrogen

Researchers looked at 750 infertile women with PCOS who wanted to conceive. They were randomly assigned one of the two drugs for up to five cycles. The women who took Letrozole had a higher rsate of live births – 28% - than those who took Clomiphene – 19%. Ovulation rates were also higher with Letrozole. Additionally, there were fewer twin births with Letrozole. Clomiphene had higher rates of hot flashes while Letrozole had higher rates of fatigue and dizziness. Birth defects were rare for both drugs.

Source: Science Daily, Penn State College of Medicine


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