Clomiphene is a fertility drug that helps women with ovulation problems. It is sold under the brand names Clomid and Serophene.
What Does It Do?
Clomiphene is used to help regulate ovulation or induce ovulation in women who are not ovulating at all. It also assists in increasing the production of eggs in the ovaries and can help women with luteal phase defect. It is often prescribed to women with polycystic ovarian syndrome. It may also be prescribed to men whose fertility problems are due to a hormonal imbalance. However, the FDA has not approved this treatment for men and the effectiveness of the treatment is unproven.
This fertility medication works by stimulating the pituitary gland. This causes the pituitary to release more FSH and LH, which in turn helps stimulate the egg follicles resulting in improved egg production and ovulation. Clomiphene is also often used to produce multiple eggs for harvesting in women who are undergoing assisted reproductive technologies.
Clomiphene comes in 50mg tablets. This is the minimum dose prescribed to women. Starting on day 3, 4, or 5 of your cycle, you take one tablet daily for five days. If ovulation does not occur, your dosage may be increased to a maximum of 200mg per day. It is recommended that clomiphene be prescribed for a maximum of six cycles. Since about 80% of women will ovulate within the first three cycles, you may be switched to another type of treatment before the six-cycle mark if you do not seem to be responding to the treatment.
Taking clomiphene seems simple enough but it can involve a large time commitment from women. Frequent trips to the doctor are required throughout each cycle in order to monitor the progress of ovulation. Although it can be time consuming, it is the best way of knowing whether or not you are responding to the pills.
Serophene or Clomid side effects tend not to be serious and can include abdominal pain, tender breasts, minor swelling of the ovaries, insomnia, nausea, and vomiting.
Of the 80% of women who respond to clomiphene within the first three cycles, 40% of these women will conceive. However, estimates of the numbers of women who deliver a live birth vary from 30% to 60%. Additionally, your chances of having twins increase by about 10% although it is not unheard of to conceive triplets or more while taking the medication.
Revision date: July 7, 2011
Last revised: by Tatiana Kuznetsova, D.M.D.