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Fertility Drugs For Women: Types Available In India And Side Effects

If you are trying to get pregnant for a while now without any success, you may be directed by your doctor to consider fertility treatments. Fertility drugs are the first step in treating fertility problems and are available for both women and men.

This article will cover Fertility Drugs for Women, the types available in India, and the possible side effects of these fertility drugs.

Fertility Drugs For Women: How Does It Work?

Fertility drugs work by increasing certain hormones that help mature and release one or more eggs each month. If you ovulate rarely or irregularly, fertility drugs could help you conceive [1].

Some of the fertility drugs are orally administered. At the same time, some are injected and work in the same way by promoting the release of hormones that, in turn, commence the ovulation process. Fertility drugs are an important part of assisted conception treatments, such as IVF [2].

If a woman cannot get pregnant or continues to have miscarriages after trying to conceive for 12 months or longer, she may be recommended fertility treatment. For women over 35, many doctors recommend seeking treatment after six months of trying to conceive.

Types Of Fertility Drugs For Women

Many types of fertility medications for women are available today. It is important to only take fertility medication under the supervision of a fertility specialist or other medical professional because, while the majority of the fertility drugs are safe and effective, some can result in side-effects [3].

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The most popular fertility drugs for women (in India) are as follows:

  • Clomiphene citrates such as Clomid and Serophene
  • Gonadotrophins such as Antagon, Pergonal, Repronex and Menopur
  • Dopamine agonists such as Bromocriptine and Cabergoline
  • Heparin drugs such as Hep-Lock or Liquamin
  • Metformin hydrochloride
  • Follistim or Gonal-F
  • Pregnyl
  • Profasi
  • Novarel

(1) Clomiphene citrate (Clomid and Serophene): These type of fertility drugs works by making your body 'believe' that the oestrogen levels are low and thereby stimulates the FSH or follicle-stimulating hormone and LH or the luteinizing hormone - the ones necessary for successful conception [4]. Side effects include nausea, vomiting, mood swings, irritability, a feeling of tenderness in the breasts, hot flashes, and vaginal dryness. In some cases, it can cause multiple pregnancies, such as twins (4-10 per cent) and triplets (1 per cent).

(2) Gonadotrophins (Antagon, Pergonal, Repronex and Menopur): These type of fertility drugs are injected and enhances the production of the LH and FSH hormones. Gonadotrophins are prescribed for women whose ovulation must be regulated for other treatments and in chemotherapy cases (as it shuts down the pituitary gland, stopping ovulation). The common side effects are headache, insomnia, hot flashes and vaginal dryness [5].

(3) Dopamine agonists: These are recommended for women who have too much of the hormone prolactin, which reduces hormone oestrogen levels, thereby making it difficult to get pregnant [6]. When used during assisted conception treatments, such as IVF, dopamine agonists can also reduce the risk of an ovarian hyper-stimulation syndrome (causes the ovaries to swell) [7]. Common side effects include confusion, leg swelling, excessive sleepiness, compulsive behaviours (rare).

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(4) Heparin drugs (Hep-Lock or Liquamin): These fertility drugs are injected to lower the risk of miscarriage in women who suffer from blood-clotting disorders, a common cause of infertility [8]. Side effects include back, stomach pain, hair fall, skin rashes, heavy bleeding, and high potassium levels in the blood have also been recorded.

(5) Metformin hydrochloride: This drug is primarily used for diabetes treatment and can also be used to treat ovulation problems in women with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) [9]. The tablets work by lowering insulin circulating levels in the blood, which can help promote normal ovulation. Side effects include physical weakness, diarrhoea, gas, muscle pain, low blood sugar, abdominal pain etc.

(6) Follistim or Gonal-F: A synthetic version of the natural FSH, this follicle-stimulating hormone cause the eggs to mature and stimulates the development of multiple eggs for a successful IVF [10]. Possible side effects include headache, muscle ache, mood swings such as high irritability and tenderness of breasts.

(7) Pregnyl, Profasi and Novarel: These fertility drugs work in the same way. They stimulate the maturation of the eggs and get them released from the follicle by promoting the hCG hormone production in the system. Possible side effects include nausea, vomiting and abdominal pain.

Note: Your doctor will inform you about the possible side effects of these drugs. If you find yourself struggling and in excessive discomfort or pain, get immediate medical attention.

On A Final Note...

Women who do not have regular periods and women with medical conditions that could affect pregnancy, such as UTIs, obesity, BP etc., should talk to a doctor before trying to get pregnant.

Story first published: Tuesday, March 16, 2021, 22:42 [IST]