Infertility is one of the most complex medical specialties. It comes with a language all its own. It comes with an array of medicines all its own, too. Many of the words associated with infertility care seem like real tongue-twisters, including the drugs used to treat it.
This quick glimpse of medicines used to treat infertility is meant to be a handy reference only. Ask your infertility specialist any questions you have about need, dosage, and side effects.
Aspirin is sometimes prescribed individually and sometimes alongside heparin. It helps reduce the risk of recurrent spontaneous pregnancy loss and to prevent miscarriage.
Bromocriptine Mesylate and Cabergoline (Parlodel, Dostinex)
These drugs treat hyperolactinemia in men and women. Hyperlactinemia is caused by overproduction of the hormone, prolactin, and can impair fertility in both genders.
Clomiphene Citrate (Clomid, Serophene)
Clomiphene corrects irregularities of ovulation that include ovulation very late or very early in the menstrual cycle. It can induce ovulation, increase egg production, and correct luteal phase deficiency.
Follicle Stimulating Hormone (FSH)
This hormone is used to treat ovulation disorders as well as to stimulate follicle and egg production. It is used for assisted reproductive technology (ART) procedures that include in vitro fertilization (IVF) and intrauterine insemination (IUI).
Gonadotropin-Releasing Hormone Agonists / GnRH agonist (Lupron, Synarel)
When first used, GnRH agonists stimulate the release of FSH and luteinizing hormone (LH); continued use rapidly suppresses these same hormones. GnRH agonists create a clean-slate scenario before controlled ovarian hyperstimulation for IVF and other ART procedures. They prevent premature release of eggs when IVF or gamete intrafallopian transfer (GIFT) is being done. GnRH agonists also shrink fibroids and are used to treat endometriosis.
Gonadotropin-Releasing Hormone Antagonist / GnRH antagonist / ganirelix acetate (Ganirelix Acetate Injection, Cetrotide)
This drug is part of the process of controlled ovarian hyperstimulation for IVF and other ART treatments. It is used with other drugs that stimulate ovulation.
Heparin is sometimes used alone or in conjunction with aspirin to minimize risk of recurrent pregnancy loss.
Human Menopausal Gonadotropin / hMG (Repronex)
When ovulation is irregular, hMG stimulates the development of follicles. It stimulates ovulation during IUI, IVF, and other ART procedures.
This naturally occurring hormone prepares the lining of the uterus for pregnancy. Progesterone is administered orally, vaginally as a suppository, in gel form, and by injection.
The science of reproduction and infertility therapies is in constant development. As the science evolves, these drugs may be replaced by different medicines. Your fertility specialist will know which drugs or combinations of them are best for the individual patient.
Source: "Fertility Medicines." RESOLVE: The National Infertility Association. 2013. Web. Retrieved 14 Nov 2013.