Understanding Infertility Medications

Learn more about popular medications used to treat infertility. Host Dawn Davenport, Executive Director of Creating a Family, the national infertility & adoption education and support nonprofit, interviews Adam Hait of Schraft 2.0. Adam is the President of Schraft’s 2.0 Specialty Pharmacy and manages 50+ pharmacists at their groundbreaking fertility pharmacy.

Hit the Highlights
  • What are the common medications used in infertility treatment?
    • Oral Medications
    • Clomiphene Citrate Brand names: Clomid and Serophene
      • Clomiphene is an oral medication that is used to stimulate ovulation by causing the pituitary gland to secrete more follicle stimulating hormone (FSH), which starts the development of ovarian follicles containing eggs.
      • Clomiphene is often prescribed when the female partner is not ovulating regularly, when IUI is going to be used, and in cases of unexplained infertility, when there is no apparent cause for infertility. It may also be used in a clomiphene challenge test (CCT) to determine your ovarian reserve (an indication of the number of eggs remaining in the ovaries).
    • Femara (Brand name: Letrozole)- how does it differ from Clomiphene Citrate?
  • Gonadotropins: Gonadotropins are injectable fertility drugs that contain FSH, LH, or both. Gonadotropins are prescribed for women to stimulate production of multiple eggs in an IVF cycle, so a number of mature eggs may be extracted and fertilized in the lab. Sometimes they are used in IUI procedures as well.
    • Human chorionic gonadotropins (hCG)—Ovidrel, Novarel, Pregnyl- The hCG drugs are used to trigger release of the eggs when they are ready.
    • Human menopausal gonadotropins (hMG)— Menopur, Repronex;
    • Recombinant human follicle-stimulating hormone (rFSH)— Follistim, Gonal-F
  • Gonadotropin-Releasing Hormone (GnRH) Agonists
    • Leuprolide Brand name: Lupron (Can be used at different stages of the IVF cycle.)
  • Gonadotropin-Releasing Hormone (GnRH) Antagonists
    • Brand names: Cetrotide, Ganirelix
  • How does Femara (Brand name: Letrozole) differ from Clomiphene Citrate?
  • Why are fertility drugs not available usually at your local neighborhood pharmacy?
  • Do pharmacies have a special relationship with different pharmaceutical companies?
  • Why are patients recommended to use specific injection site? Do you have to take the shot in your abdomen?
  • What does subcutaneous mean and how do you make sure you’re doing it right?
  • What are ways to control the pain of an injection, especially for those people with a phobia about needles?
  • A little of the medication leaked out of the injection site. Did that mess up my dose?
  • My husband squirted some of the med out when he was trying to make sure there were no air bubbles. Is that going to matter?
  • How to get the air out of a syringe?
  • Suggestions on how to do self-injections.

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Image credit: Joe Flintham