Fertility Drugs and Medications: Naturopathic Treatments and Interactions in Ottawa

What are the common drugs used during fertility treatments?

The medications used during an in vitro fertilization (IVF), intracytoplasmic injection (ICSI), and Intrauterine Insemination (IUI) will vary from patient to patient based on individual cases. So will the dose of the medications given, and those doses may also change at different points of the fertility treatment cycle. There are however some common medications utilized in this process. 

1. Clomiphene Citrate: commonly known as clomid, this medication works by blocking the estrogen receptors in the body. This triggers the pituitary gland in the brain to release a hormone called FSH, which stimulates follicle development. Clomid is commonly used in the treatment of polycystic ovarian syndrome.

2. Letrazole: commonly sold under the brand name Femara, this medication is usually used for polycystic ovarian syndrome as well. It works by inhibiting the aromatase enzyme in the body, which drastically reduces the production of estrogen. Similar to clomid, this in turn causes a release in FSH to help stimulate follicle growth and ovulation.

3. Ovulation stimulation medications: this includes a class of medications which mimic human Chorionic Gonadotropin hormone (hCG), and are used to stimulate ovulation in the body. hCG is similar to the LH hormone in structure, so its delivery stimulates the follicles to release eggs as well. Common names for this class of medication includes ovidrel and pregnyl. 

4. Lupron and Zoladex: these medications fall in to a class called luteinizing hormone releasing hormone (LHRH) medications. They may be used in a long or short cycle. The long cycle is when you start the medication around cycle day 21 before your IVF, and the goal is to stimulate as many eggs to grow, but to prevent their ovulation. The short protocol is often used in patients with low ovarian reserve to increase their sensitivity to other fertility medications. In this case it is usually taken starting cycle day 2-3 followed by Gonal-F (FSH mimicking medication).

5. Orgalutran and Cetrotide: these medication fall in to the antagonist class, they prevent ovulation during IVF, and are usually started when the follicles are growing large and the goal is to prevent their ovulation so that they may retrieved during the retrieval process.

6. Progesterone: this can be prescribed in a gel, suppository, or intramuscular injection. After using fertility drugs, the body's ability to produce progesterone declines significantly. The supplementation with extra progesterone supports a healthy lining and supports implantation.

This information is presented for educational and informative purposes only. This is not a replacement or substitute for medical advice from your fertility doctor or physician. If you have any questions or concerns regarding fertility drugs, please follow-up with your fertility doctor.

Are Herbs and Supplements Safe to use During Fertility Cycles?

A common myth is that because a product is natural, therefore it is safe and free of side effects. A supplement cannot have an effect on the body if it is free of side effects. Therefore, when using supplements, it is important to have an interaction check done to make sure that herbs and supplements you use are actually safe for your condition, for fertility in general, and that they do not interact with your fertility drugs. Dr. Singh, ND runs an interaction check with every patient and will advise if something needs to be discontinued and can recommend nutritional supplements that can prove beneficial during assisted fertility treatments in Ottawa.

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