Fertility Treatment: What Is Clomid?

Clomid is the most common drug used in fertility treatments and is typically the first medication your doctor will prescribe. Clomid is the brand name for clomiphene citrate. Clomid was approved by the FDA in 1967.

Who Should Take Clomid

One of the most common types of infertility is a lack of ovulation. Conditions such as polycystic ovarian syndrome, which is the most common infertility condition for women in the United States, cause a lack in ovulation. Clomid has shown to stimulate ovulation in 80 percent of clinical trials.

How Clomid Is Administered

Unlike many other hormonal drugs, Clomid is taken in a pill form. The common dosage of Clomid is 50 mg. The drug is taken for five days beginning on either day 3 or day 5 of your menstrual cycle. The day you start to bleed is day 1. If the 50 mg dosage does not cause ovulation, your doctor may increase your dosage. Clinical trials show that any dosage above 150 mg actually decrease your chances of conceiving.

When on Clomid, your doctor probably will order blood work to be taken before and after treatment to determine the effectiveness of the drug. This can help your doctor determine if there are any additional underlying medical conditions. Your doctor may also monitor you with an ultrasound.

How Clomid Works

Clomid functions as estrogen. For many women, the pituitary gland fails to release enough follicle stimulating hormone and leutinizing hormone. This prevents the body from ovulating. Clomid works to block the estrogen receptors, which makes your brain believe that your body is suffering from low levels of estrogen. This causes the pituitary gland to release more follicle stimulating hormone and leutinizing hormone, leading to ovulation. Women typically ovulate eight to 10 days after completing the course of Clomid drugs.

Success Rates

In clinical studies of Clomid in 7,578 patients, pregnancy occurred in 30 percent of the patients. Of these pregnancies, nearly 8 percent experienced multiple births. Seven percent were twins, 0.5 percent triplets and 0.3 percent quadruplets. Eighty percent of the twins were fraternal twins. 

Of the women who became pregnant through Clomid, 20.4 percent experienced a miscarriage and 1 percent experienced a stillbirth. This rate was higher for women carrying multiples.

Side Effects

The most common side effects of Clomid are hot flashes, headache, nausea, dizziness, abdominal bloating, ovarian enlargement, mood change, anxiety, irritability, upset stomach, blurring vision and breast tenderness. Less frequent side effects include abnormal uterine bleeding, ovarian hyperstimulating syndrome and reversible alopecia.

Cost

Clomid is a relatively inexpensive drug in the world of infertility treatments. The average cost of Clomid is about $40 per cycle depending on insurance and if a name brand is used. The average cost of generic Clomid is $15.

Other Things to Know

While Clomid has shown to effectively stimulate ovulation, your doctor may check to ensure there are no other fertility problems, such as blocked fallopian tubes, which are preventing you from conceiving.

Long term Clomid use is not advised. Most doctors do not recommended more than six Clomid cycles.

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