Femara (letrozole) is an effective drug that is thought to be better for helping women become pregnant who have polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS). A study by the National Institutes of Health found that PCOS affects around 7% of reproductive age women, and is one of the most common causes of female infertility.
Femara infertility drug is utilized to increase the probability of pregnancy in women with fertility issues. While Clomid is known to last longer, letrozole is helpful in inducing an egg to develop and be released. Fertility rates with letrozole are similar to those seen with Clomid, but older patients have a reduced chance of success when compared ot younger persons.
What is PCOS?
Women with PCOS produce an excess of male hormones (androgens), which affect and interfere with ovulation. With PCOS, the ovaries become enlarged and contain multiple cyst-like structures. These cysts are immature ovarian follicles that produce androgens. Women with PCOS often have insulin resistance, and researchers have found that treatment with letrozole assists these women with ovulation.
For women with PCOS, lifestyle changes can facilitate conception. Losing weight is one of the best things a person can do to improve fertility. Your fertility specialist may recommend that you attempt to lose weight, and this will restore ovulation and improve pregnancy rates. In a recent clinical study involved 11 women with PCOS, who lost more than 5% of their initial weight. Out of 11, nine of these women became pregnant or had a regular menstrual cycle.
What are the Side Effects of Letrozole?
Letrozole is an aromatase inhibitor, which means it increases intraovarian hormones. This will increase follicular sensitivity to follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH). By augmenting FSH receptors and stimulating insulin-like growth factor, FSH promotes follicular growth. This may result in pelvic discomfort, breast tenderness, and bloating. Letrozole has some benefits over Clomid. It keeps the feedback mechanism intact and is short-acting.
Letrozole is currently used as a breast cancer treatment for women who have gone through menopause. It inhibits the production of estrogen, which in turn, influences the brain’s hypothalamus and pituitary glands. This results in ovarian function. The side effects of letrozole include:
- Increased risk of birth defects
Letrozole Fertility Success Rates
In an NIH study, the chief of Fertility and Infertility, Dr. Legro, found that letrozole given on day 3 of the menstrual cycle, and taken for five days, would improve chances of successful ovulation. Of the women who received letrozole in the study, 28% had a live birth, which was compared to 19% of those taking clomiphene. The letrozole group ovulated 688 times out of 1,425 cycles (a 49% success rate).
According to a recent review of studies, letrozole is being used for adenomyosis and endometriosis as “off-label” treatment. In addition, letrozole has been studied for anovulatory conditions. In controlled trials, the ovulation rate was higher in the letrozole group and was found to be better than anastrozole in ovulation and pregnancy rates. For ovarian stimulation for intrauterine insemination (IUI), women who took the drug had higher pregnancy rates.