IVF Medications: Possible Side Effects

By mpatel on September 24, 2019

Administering a fertility drug injectionDr. Ketan S. Patel and Dr. Diane G. Hammitt have helped countless people struggling with male, female, and mixed infertility throughout Scottsdale and Gilbert, AZ. Thanks to in vitro fertilization (IVF), patients have been able to build families and experience the joys of parenthood.

Fertility drugs are used during IVF to help regulate and control hormone levels and increase the chances of successful pregnancy. We would like to go over some of the most common medications used during IVF, the roles they play in the process, and some of the most common patient side effects.

Clomiphene Citrate (CC)

Clomiphene citrate is used to help stimulate ovulation in the IVF process. Specifically, the drug increases levels of follicle stimulating hormone (FSH). These drugs are taken orally, and are particularly helpful for patients with irregular periods or absent periods.

Side effects of clomiphene citrate may include:

  • Hot flashes
  • Bloating
  • Nausea
  • Changes in cervical mucus
  • Headaches
  • Blurry vision

Gonadotropins

Gonadotropins are different kinds of injectable hormone medications essential in optimizing the IVF treatment. Common types of gonadotropins include: human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG), follicle stimulating hormone (FSH), luteinizing hormone (LH), and human menopausal gonadotropins (hMG).

Side effects of gonadotropins may include:

  • Swelling around the injection site
  • Breast tenderness
  • Abdominal pain
  • Cramps
  • Bloating
  • Mood swings
  • Depression

Gonadotropin-Releasing Hormone (GnRH)

This injectable fertility drug stimulates the pituitary gland. GnRH will cause the release of more LH and FSH into a patient’s body.

Side effects of gonadotropin-releasing hormone may include:

  • Abdominal pain
  • Cramps
  • Bloating
  • Nausea
  • Headaches

GnRH Agonists and GnRH Antagonists

GnRH agonists help patients produce more high-quality, viable eggs to use during an IVF cycle. These kinds of drugs can be administered via injection or by nasal spray.

GnRH antagonists will help prevent patients from ovulating too soon, which ensures proper timing of the IVF cycle. These drugs are administered via injection.

Side effects of GnRH agonists and GnRH antagonists may include:

  • Hot flashes
  • Changes in breast size
  • Vaginal dryness
  • Headaches
  • Insomnia
  • Mood swings
  • Depression

Progesterone

Administered after egg retrieval, progesterone promotes the formation of nourishing tissue along the uterine lining. This increases the chances of an embryo implanting and successful pregnancy. Progesterone may be administered as an injection, though it is also available as a vaginal suppository and a vaginal gel.

Side effects of progesterone may include:

  • Hot flashes
  • Abdominal pain
  • Cramps
  • Bloating
  • Vaginal discharge
  • Breast tenderness
  • Headaches
  • Mood swings

Discussing Side Effects with You in Greater Detail

It’s important to us that patients be aware of all side effects during IVF treatment. It’s similarly important that patients know the pros and cons of any treatments they undergo. Informing patients in this way helps them have realistic expectations about the fertility treatment process as well as the nature of IVF as a procedure.

If you have any concerns about side effects or potential complications, we will be more than happy to discuss them with you during the consultation process. We can suggest alternatives to consider if you have serious concerns.

Learn More About IVF Treatment

To learn more about IVF and whether or not it’s an ideal treatment for you, be sure to contact our team of fertility doctors. You can reach Arizona Associates for Reproductive Health by phone in Scottsdale at (480) 504-1255 and in Gilbert at (480) 681-1822.

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