Infertility is a common problem for couples in the USA. It can be a few reasons and the result of issues with both men and woman. It is usually defined as an inability to conceive in women aged 35 and over after 6 months of continuous unprotected sex. In women under 25, it is defined as an inability to conceive despite continuous unprotected sex for 12 months. According to the Centre for disease control (CDC) almost 6% of woman in the USA between 15 and 44 are unable to get pregnant. As mentioned previously there a number of reasons why a couple may experience trouble conceiving. The most common reason is polycystic ovary disease or PCOS for short. Estimates show that almost 10% of women have some form of PCOS, although most won’t show symptoms. A number of treatment options currently exist, but new research reported in a number of news articles suggests the breast cancer drug Letrozole might be better than all currently available options. Could getting pregnant with letrozole be the best bet?
Current Treatment Options for Women with PCOS and Infertility
The most up to data guidance suggest that treatment of women with PCOS and infertility should follow the following regime:
- Prescribe Clomid (trade name for the drug Clomiphene citrate – which usually triggers ovulation in women who are not ovulating)
- Advice the patient to lose weight – this can often alleviate the symptoms of PCOS and help with ovulation
- If the patient has diabetes alter and refine their medications
This works in some cases. However, some women are still unable to get pregnant, even with Clomiphene! In a recent study published by researchers in Brazil, it was found that Letrozole was significantly better than Clomiphene fo women with PCOS and infertility. Current guidance is yet to update, so it’s important for couples to seek clinics that are actively prescribing the drug for infertility.
Side Effects of Letrozole for Fertility
Many women have asked how safe is letrozole? and what are the side effects? It is associated with a number of side effects ranging from not serious to severe (in very rare cases). These include:
- Less serious symptoms like:
- Hot flushes
- Numbness and tingling
- More serious symptoms like:
- Bone defects (which can result in broken bones)
- High cholesterol (that can, in the long term, result in heart disease)
However, these side effects are no more serious than many other medications and using experienced fertility clinics who know the risk factors for these side effects can help. Of course, other more traditional treatment options (like taking Clomiphene) also incur similar risks as no medications are complete without side effects.
News of new treatment like Letrozole will be music to the ears of the 6% of couples that try and fail to conceive a child. For the many women who suffer from PCOS this provides a real opportunity to fall pregnant. Getting pregnant with Letrozole is potentially the best option.