Common medications used

Common medications that we use in the in the fertility treatment
The educational links on this section are used with kind permission from Merck Sereno and Pharmasure.

Ovary-stimulating hormones
Gonal-f, Menopur, Merional.

How do I take them?
You inject into a muscle or under the skin. You will be taught to inject yourself by the nursing team in the unit. 

How do the medications work?
The injections stimulate the ovaries directly to produce eggs. When the eggs are ripe a single trigger injection will trigger ovulation and help release the eggs. 

When are the medications used?
They’re used with IUI and IVF cycles to stimulate ovulation, or if you have polycystic ovarian syndrome but your ovaries don’t respond to Clomid. They are also used for infertility caused by failure of the pituitary gland.

What are the potential side-effects?
Overstimulation of the ovaries, known as ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome (OHSS), increased risk of multiple pregnancy (twins, triplets or more), allergic reactions and skin reactions.

picture of gonal f follitropin alfa pre-filled pen

gonal f follitropin alfa pre-filled pen

Other drug treatments
When you have IVF you will usually be prescribed other drugs at various points to give the doctor greater control over the treatment cycle. They include:

Cycle suppressing drugs
Gonadotrophin-releasing hormone analogues (drugs that copy the action of natural hormones) such as Supracur, Cetrotide. 

What are these drugs?
These are drugs that stop the menstrual cycle or stop the ovulation to occur.

How do I take it?
You can take these drugs by daily injection in the muscle or under the skin. You will be taught how to take these drugs by our fertility nurses.

How do these drugswork?
These drugs work by blocking the release of the two brain hormones that control ovulation – follicle stimulating hormone (FSH) and luteinising hormone (LH).

When are these drugs used?
They are used either before or at the same time as fertility drugs.

Potential side-effects
Hot flushes, night sweats, headache, vaginal dryness, mood swings, changes in breast size, breakout of spots and acne, sore muscles.

Picture of cerotide

Cetrotide® (cetrorelix acetate)

Drugs that maintain pregnancy
Progesterone : Cyclogest, Crinone, Progynova.

What are these medications?
These are drugs that thicken the lining of the womb and help maintain the pregnancy.

How do I  take it?
As a suppository you put in the vagina or in the back passage. We rarely prescribe progesterone as injections.

When  do I start taking progesterone?
They are started one day before the egg collection or the day of the egg collection.

 What are the side effects?
Potential side-effects: nausea, vomiting, swollen breasts.

Crinone (progesterone gel 8%)

Can I use tablets as Clomiphene?
Fertility drugs as Clomiphene can help you if you aren’t ovulating at all (producing and releasing an egg each month) or only ovulating occasionally.

Sometimes fertility drugs alone can help you get pregnant. Fertility drugs work like your body’s own hormones to trigger egg production. This is called ovulation induction.

There are several types available but the most common that is used at the Homerton Fertility Centre are Brain Hormone Stimulating Tablets Clomiphene Citrate, usually known simply as Clomid. 

What it is?
The oldest and probably most widely-used fertility drug. It’s used to make the ovaries produce mature follicles (egg sacs).

How do I take it take it?
As a tablet. Usually taken between Day 2 to Day 6 of the periods.

How it works?
By fooling the brain into thinking there’s insufficient oestrogen, which indirectly stimulates the ovaries to produce eggs.

When is it used?
The women who are unable to ovulate every month and have open tubes  are sometimes given this medication to help them ovulate.

Potential side-effects?  Hot flushes, mood swings, nausea, breast  tenderness, insomnia, increased urination, heavy periods, breakouts of spots, weight gain. There may be a small increased risk of ovarian cancer with prolonged use (more than one year).