Many medications are available for the treatment of infertility and each of the major product categories are discussed on our Web site.
Several fertility drugs indirectly induce ovulation and include Clomid, Femara (letrozole), Glucophage (metformin), and Parlodel. Clomid and Femara induce ovulation by causing the hypothalamus to increase production of gonadotropin releasing hormone thus stimulating the pituitary to produce FSH. Metformin is effective in inducing ovulation in patients with polycystic ovarian disease. It works by correcting the insulin resistance that is often present in PCOS patients.
Sometimes anovulation (lack of ovulation) is caused by a small benign tumor on the pituitary gland, which can cause hyperprolactinemia (elevated prolactin hormone levels). Elevated prolactin levels can cause increased breast milk production and anovulation. Parlodel (bromocriptine) and Dostinex (cabergoline) corrects the elevated prolactin levels and allows ovulation to resume. Rarely, the tumor is surgically removed.
Other fertility drugs, such as FSH (Gonal-F, Follistim, Repronex, Bravelle, etc.) directly stimulate the ovaries. FSH is normally produced by the pituitary and it stimulates the recruitment and development of follicles. These injectable fertility drugs are used in assisted reproductive technology cycles and stimulated IUI and cause the development of numerous eggs.
Human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG, Profasi, Pregnyl) is given to induce ovulation (i.e. cause egg release). Ovidrel is a genetically derived pure form of hCG that is sometimes used. The body recognizes hCG as leutinizing hormone which normally triggers ovulation.
Other medications such as antibiotics, progesterone, and corticosteroids are used to treat infections, immune disorders, and provide additional hormonal support of the pregnancy.