Is Clomid Right for You?
Weighing the pros and cons of this popular fertility drug
Side Effects of Clomid
Dr. Roseff says the side effects associated with Clomid include multiple pregnancy, hostile cervical mucus, hot flashes, mood disturbances, headaches, visual disturbances, ovarian enlargement and hyperstimulation syndrome, and possibly increased risk of some types of ovarian cancer.
Gayle Halverson experienced several side effects during her first cycle of 50 milligrams of Clomid. “I was slightly dizzy on days four and five,” she says. “I also had hot flashes at night while I was sleeping. I woke up several times during the night overheated. I’m on my third cycle and the side effects have definitely improved.”
What side effects should be cause for alarm? “If a woman experiences severe abdominal pain or visual disturbances she should call her doctor immediately,” Dr. Roseff says.
The Pros and Cons
One advantage of using Clomid includes the high likelihood of ovulation in the appropriately screened patient. “If a woman is simply not conceiving because she isn’t ovulating, then Clomid may be just what’s needed for her to be successful,” Dr. Roseff says.
Another advantage is that Clomid is relatively inexpensive compared to other fertility drugs, according to Dr. Simon Kipersztok, reproductive endocrinologist and assistant professor of obstetrics and gynecology at the University of Florida in Gainesville.
Clomid also has a good success rate. Dr. Kipersztok says that 40 to 80 percent of women will ovulate when taking Clomid, and 40 to 60 percent of those women will have conceived after using Clomid for six months. “Other drugs have higher success rates, but they also carry higher costs and risks,” he says.
Disadvantages include the many side effects of Clomid. “A very small percentage of women will experience serious side effects such as hot flashes and seeing halos around lights,” Dr. Kipersztok says. There is also a 10 percent increase in multiple births.
Another disadvantage is the misconception about fertility drugs. “We live in a society where people believe that popping pills is associated with good medical care,” Dr. Kipersztok says. “Clomiphene is not a magic bullet for all fertility problems. If a patient has doubts they should go to a reproductive endocrinologist.”
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