Clomid, known alternatively under the generic name clomiphene and the trade name Serophene, is one of the most commonly prescribed fertility medications for women who do not ovulate regularly. Clomid is generally considered to be a safe, effective drug, for which the benefits outweigh the risks. Below, we will take a look at the safety and effectiveness of Clomid.
How Clomid Works
Clomid increases the production of two gonadotropins: follicle stimulating hormone (FSH) and luteinizing hormone (LH), both of which are important in the development of eggs in the ovaries. Clomid works by blocking estrogen receptors in two areas of the brain responsible for producing hormones: the hypothalamus and the pituitary gland. As a result, the pituitary gland increases production of gonadotropins.
The body clears Clomid very slowly. As a result, levels of the drug rise when the drug is given over the course of several months.
Clomid can be used at home, by using an ovulation predictor kit and timing intercourse during ovulation. It can also be used with intrauterine insemination, which is performed in the office. If desired, ovulation can be monitored in the office.
Effectiveness of Clomid
Studies have found that in women who do not ovulate regularly due to problems like polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) or other reasons, 72% of women taking clomiphene ovulate at least once.
In some cases, Clomid is more effective when it is given at higher doses. Most of the time, patients begin on a dose of 50 or 100 milligrams (mg). If ovulation does not occur at this dose, the dose can be increased in increments of 50 mg. At a dose of 150 mg, 85% of women ovulate. For women who still do not ovulate, the dose may be increased further, or Clomid may be taken for a longer period of time, beyond the usual 5 days per cycle.
Some have tried to increase the effectiveness of Clomid by using it in conjunction with medications designed to treat the underlying cause of infertility. Examples include a drug such as metformin, which treats insulin resistance, or removing ovarian cysts. Unfortunately, studies show that metformin does not increase the effectivenss of Clomid. Sometimes, an hCG trigger is given to induce ovulation once the egg follicle is mature.
Although a large proportion of women treated with Clomid do ovulate, it is important to understand that not all women who ovulate with Clomid will get pregnant. For women who do not get pregnant, or who do not respond to Clomid, injectable gonadotropins may be considered.
Safety of Clomid
Because Clomid blocks estrogen receptors, most side effects of the drug are similar to the symptoms women with low estrogen levels experience. The majority of side effects are relatively mild and will resolve once the medication is discontinued, but there is a small risk of severe side effects.
Hot flashes and headaches occur in about 10% of patients, and are the most common side effect. Less common side effects include:
- Abdominal or pelvic pain
- Weight gain
- Blurred vision
- Breast tenderness or pain
Less than 1% of patients experience other side effects, such as allergic reactions.
Your doctor will prescribe Clomid if he believes that the benefits of potentially increasing fertility outweigh the risks of possible side effects. However, each patient must weigh the effectiveness of Clomid against the potential side effects and decide whether or not they are comfortable with the treatment.
Dr. Randy Morris would be happy to meet with you about treatment for your infertility. To schedule your consultation today, please click below and enter your information or call IVF1 at (630) 357-6540.