Oral fertility medications, letrozole and clomiphene are used for ovulation induction
Clomiphene (Clomid®, Serophene®) is an oral medication and is historically one of the most commonly used medications in fertility care. Clomiphene has been used for decades to help women get pregnant. As a result, many physicians and patients are comfortable utilizing it as a first-line therapy.
Letrozole for ovulation induction
Letrozole (Femara®) is an oral medication used for ovulation induction and super-ovulation. Originally used in breast cancer treatments, letrozole is a type of medication called an aromatase inhibitor. It acts to convince the pituitary (a small gland in the brain) to release FSH and LH (hormones) which travel to the ovary and stimulate the growth of follicles (the houses of the eggs) to grow. As the follicles grow, the egg matures and prepares to be released into the pelvis and hopefully be fertilized by a sperm.
Letrozole appears to be more successful than Clomid in achieving pregnancies (especially for women with PCOS). Letrozole also has fewer side effects than Clomiphene and less chance for multiple pregnancies.
The most common side effects are headache, muscle aches, nausea and fatigue. The risk of twins and higher-order multiples appears to be lower than that of clomiphene.
About clomiphene (Clomid) for ovulation induction
Clomiphene is a special type of drug called a selective estrogen-receptor modulator (SERM). The job of clomiphene is to convince the brain that estrogen is at a level that should stimulate the release of certain hormones from a small gland in the brain called the pituitary. These hormones, FSH and LH, travel to the ovary and stimulate the growth of follicles (the houses of the eggs). As the follicles grow, the egg matures and prepares to be released into the pelvis where it will hopefully be fertilized by a sperm.
Ovulation induction is conducted in cases where a woman may not ovulate (release an egg) on a regular, monthly basis. Super-ovulation is used in women who do ovulate regularly, in order to increase the number of eggs that she may release in a given month—and therefore increase her chances of conceiving. Clomiphene is sometimes used in combination with other medications.
Side effects of the fertility medication Clomid
The most common side effects of clomiphene (Clomid) are hot flashes, moodiness, and potential thinning of the endometrium (the lining of the uterus). Rare side effects include visual changes, which should be reported immediately to your physician. The chance of conceiving twins with clomiphene use is about 8% (8/100), and the chance of triplets is about 1/250.
Reproductive endocrinologists Dr. Susan Hudson specializes in fertility medications and treatments. Dr. Hudson sees and treats infertility patients from San Antonio, New Braunfels, and throughout South Central Texas. Find out how we can make your dreams of family a reality – contact us today.