Infertility drugs

Infertility drugs are medicines that help bring about pregnancy.

Infertility is the inability of a man and woman to achieve pregnancy after atleast a year of having regular sexual intercourse without any type of birthcontrol. There are many possible reasons for infertility, and finding the most effective treatment for a couple may involve many tests to find the problem. For pregnancy to occur, the woman's reproductive system must releaseeggs regularly--a process called ovulation. The man must produce healthy sperm that are able to reach and unite with an egg. And once an egg is fertilized, it must travel to the woman's uterus (womb), become implanted and remain there to be nourished.

If a couple is infertile because the woman is not ovulating, infertility drugs may be prescribed to stimulate ovulation. The first step usually is to trya drug such as clomiphene. If that doesn't work, human chorionic gonadotropin(HCG) may be tried, usually in combination with other infertility drugs.

Clompiphene and HCG may also be used to treat other conditions in both malesand females.

Clomiphene (Clomid, Serophene) comes in tablet form and is available only with a physician's prescription. Human chorionic gonadotropin is given as an injection, only under a physician's supervision.

The dosage may be different for different patients. Check with the physicianwho prescribed the drug or the pharmacist who filled the prescription for thecorrect dosage.

Clomiphene must be taken at certain times during the menstrual cycle. Be sureto follow directions exactly.

Seeing a physician regularly while taking infertility drugs is important.

Treatment with infertility drugs increases the chance of multiple births. Although this may seem like a good thing to couples who want children very badly, multiple fetuses can cause problems during pregnancy and delivery and can even threaten the babies' survival.

Having intercourse at the proper time in the woman's menstrual cycle helps increase the chance of pregnancy. The physician may recommend using an ovulation prediction test kit to help determine the best times for intercourse.

Some people feel dizzy or lightheaded, or less alert when using clomiphene. The medicine may also cause blurred vision and other vision changes. Anyone who takes clomiphene should not drive, use machines or do anything else that might be dangerous until they have found out how the drugs affect them.

Questions remain about the safety of long-term treatment with clomiphene. Women should not have more than 6 courses of treatment with this drug and shouldask their physicians for the most up-to-date information about its use.

People who have certain medical conditions or who are taking certain other medicines may have problems if they take infertility drugs. Before taking thesedrugs, be sure to let the physician know about any of these conditions:

Anyone who has had unusual reactions to infertility drugs in the past shouldlet his or her physician know before taking the drugs again. The physician should also be told about any allergies to foods, dyes, preservatives, or othersubstances.

Clomiphene may cause birth defects if taken during pregnancy. Women who thinkthey have become pregnant while taking clomiphene should stop taking the medicine immediately and check with their physicians.

Infertility drugs may make some medical conditions worse. Before using infertility drugs, people with any of these medical problems should make sure theirphysicians are aware of their conditions:

  • Endometriosis
  • Fibroid tumors of the uterus
  • Unusual vaginal bleeding
  • Ovarian cyst
  • Enlarged ovaries
  • Inflamed veins caused by blood clots
  • Liver disease, now or in the past
  • Depression.

Taking infertility drugs with certain other medicines may affect the way thedrugs work or may increase the chance of side effects.

When used in low doses for a short time, clomiphene and HCG rarely cause sideeffects. However, anyone who has stomach or pelvic pain or bloating while taking either medicine should check with a physician immediately. Infertility drugs may also cause less serious symptoms such as hot flashes, breast tenderness or swelling, heavy menstrual periods, bleeding between menstrual periods,nausea or vomiting, dizziness, lightheadedness, irritability, nervousness, restlessness, headache, tiredness, sleep problems, or depression. Theseproblems usually go away as the body adjusts to the drug and do not requiremedical treatment unless they continue or they interfere with normal activities.

Other side effects are possible. Anyone who has unusual symptoms after takinginfertility drugs should get in touch with a physician.

Infertility drugs may interact with other medicines. When this happens, the effects of one or both of the drugs may change or the risk of side effects maybe greater. Anyone who takes infertility drugs should let the physician knowall other medicines she is taking.

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