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The information provided here is meant to give you a general idea about each of the medications listed below. Only the most general side effects are included, so ask your doctor if you need to take any special precautions. Use each of these medications only as recommended by your doctor, or according to the instructions provided. If you have further questions about usage or side effects, contact your doctor.

Medications used for the treatment of male infertility include the following:

Medications used for the treatment of female infertility are essentially the same as for male infertility except in the treatment of polycystic ovarian syndrome with metformin (Glucophage).

Common namdes include:

  • Androl-LA
  • Androderm
  • Delatestryl
  • Depo-testosterone

Testosterone is used in hypogonadism, hypogonadotropic hypogonadism, and delayed puberty in which the production of testosterone by the gonads is absent or inadequate since testosterone is needed for sperm production. Testosterone can be taken orally, be injected, or by wearing a patch.

Possible side effects include:

  • Masculinization
  • Cramps in leg
  • Fluid retention
  • Jaundice

Common names include:

  • Clomid
  • Serophene

Clomiphene citrate is a common medication prescribed to women with infertility due to an ovulation disorder. The medication, though, is also prescribed to men who have infertility due to hormonal imbalances. Clomiphene citrate causes an increase in luteinizing hormone (LH) and follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH). This increases the signal to the testes to increase testosterone production and ultimately, sperm production. In combination with vitamin E, clomiphene may increase sperm count, sperm mobility, and pregnancy rates.

Possible side effects include:

  • Bloating
  • Stomach pain
  • Migraines
  • Ovarian hyperstimualtion syndrome with multiple pregnancies

Common names include:

  • Human chorionic gonadatropin, or hCG (Profasi, Pregnyl, Ovidrel)
  • Human menopausal gonadatropin, or hMG (Pergonal, Humegon)
  • Follicle-stimulating hormone, or FSH (Follistim, Gonal F)

These drugs are used in men to treat hypogonadism (low testosterone and sperm production). They stimulate the Leydig cells of the testes to produce more androgen (male) hormones, particularly testosterone, which stimulates sperm production.

hCG is injected into the muscle two to three times a week. You may need to receive this medicine for several weeks, months, or longer. If you are being treated for a low sperm count and have been on this medicine for six months, your doctor may give you another hormone medicine (menotropin or urofollitropin injection). You may need to receive both of these medicines together for up to twelve additional months.

Menotropins (hMG) are a mixture of FSH and LH that are naturally produced by the pituitary gland. These are also injected into a muscle three times a week for four or more months. Usually your doctor will give you another medicine called chorionic gonadotropin before and during treatment with menotropins.

Possible side effects include:

  • Injection site pain
  • Acne
  • Enlargement of penis and testes
  • Breast enlargement in male
  • Headache
  • Irritability
  • Restless
  • Growth of pubic hair

  • Common name: Parlodel

This drug is prescribed for patients who have elevated levels of the pituitary hormone prolactin, which interferes with other male/female hormones. The drug is provided as a tablet, which is taken with food 1 to 3 times daily.

Possible side effects include:

  • Drowsiness
  • Dry mouth
  • Nausea
  • Headache
  • Tingling in hands and feet

Whenever you are taking a prescription medication, take the following precautions:

  • Take them as directed—not more, not less, not at a different time.
  • Do not stop taking them without consulting your doctor.
  • Don’t share them with anyone else.
  • Know what effects and side effects to expect, and report them to your doctor.
  • If you are taking more than one drug, even if it is over-the-counter, be sure to check with a physician or pharmacist about drug interactions.
  • Plan ahead for refills so you don’t run out.

References:

Infertility. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed/what.php. Updated August 23, 2012. Accessed September 14, 2012.

Demirol A, Gurgan T. Comparison of different gonadotrophin preparations in intrauterine insemination cycles for the treatment of unexplained infertility: a prospective, randomized study. Hum Reprod. 2007;22: 97-100.

Kosmas IP, Tatsioni A, Fatemi HM, et al. Human chorionic gonadotropin administration vs. lutenizing monitoring for intrauterine insemination timing, after administration of clomiphene citrate: a meta-analysis. Fertil Steril. 2007;87:607-612.

Male infertility. American Society for Reproductive Medicine website. Available at: http://www.asrm.org/topics/detail.aspx?id=1331. Accessed September 14, 2012.

RESOLVE. The National Infertility Association website. Available at: http://www.resolve.org/. . Accessed September 14, 2012.

Revelli A, Poso F, Gennarelli G, Moffa F, Grassi G, Massobrio M. Recombinant versus highly-purified, urinary follicle-stimulating hormone (r-FSH vs. HP-uFSH) in ovulation induction: a prospective, randomized study with cost-minimization analysis. Reprod Biol Endocrinol. 2006 Jul 18;4:38.

9/2/2009 DynaMed Systematic Literature Surveillance http://www.dynamicmedical.com/what.php: Ghanem H, Shaeer O, El-Segini A. Combination clomiphene citrate and antioxidant therapy for idiopathic male infertility: a randomized controlled trial. Fertil Steril. 2009 Mar 5. [Epub ahead of print]

Last reviewed September 2012 by Adrienne Carmack, MD

Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.


 
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