New drug better than the old one for infertility

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The long standing go-to drug for treating infertility may soon be replaced with another drug which is 30% more effective with fewer side effects.

Letrozole works better with fewer side effects

Researchers recruited 750 couples to compare Clomid, the long-used favorite, to Letrozole, a drug initially used for recurrence of breast cancer, but now found to help with female infertility. Of the 376 women who took Clomid, 72 conceived and gave birth. Of the 374 women on Letrozole, 103 went on to become pregnant and give birth.

Works well for women with PCOS

“Letrozole works better, has about the same cost, has fewer side effects and has a slightly lower twin rate than Clomid,” noted Gregory Christman, MD, director of the division of reproductive endocrinology and infertility at the University of Florida. “Clomid has been available for fertility treatment for more than 40 years, but with this new information, we may soon have to reconsider its role in the treatment of infertility due to anovulation in women with polycystic ovarian disorder.”

Polycystic ovary syndrome is the leading cause of infertility in women. Often, Clomid is prescribed as a first step treatment. About one-third of women seeking help at fertility clinics have the condition.

Different mechanisms for creating estrogen and ovulation

The drugs work very differently. Clomid partially blocks the estrogen receptors in the brain so that the brain will send signals to the ovaries to produce more estrogen. This causes ovulation. Letrozole is stored in the fat tissue and works to reduce the estrogen in the bloodstream. When the brain detects lower levels of estrogen, it sends a message to the ovaries to create more, thus causing ovulation.

Source: MedicalNewsToday, The New England Journal of Medicine


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