The pressure to conceive can be enormous, and the mere thought you are infertile isn’t easy to accept. When is the right time to visit a doctor? If one is below 35 years and has tried to conceive for over one year without success, it is crucial to visit a fertility specialist. If above 35 years of age, it’s advisable to try getting pregnant for at least six months, and then seek medical attention. The supply of a female’s egg decreases over time, particularly past 35 years. If a woman is over 40 years, the eggs decrease in quantity and quality, so the chances of conception are minimal and the risk of a miscarriage is higher. Therefore, visit a fertility clinic right away if planning to start a family. Once you see a doctor, he will ask questions concerning sex life, the birth control pills you have used in the past if you have had sexually transmitted intercourse and any other relevant questions. After that, infertility test such as Pap smear, urine, and blood tests will be carried out to detect the root cause of the inability to conceive. If the physician finds out the challenges of conception are as a result of ovulation problems or unexplained infertility, he may prescribe Femara drug.
The Drug Information
It is an oral prescription medication which belongs to a class of medication called aromatase inhibitors. It is only approved by the FDA to manage breast cancer and minimize the chance of it reoccurring in postmenopausal women; some certain breast cancer needs estrogen hormone to grow and spread. The drug is given to women who have taken Tamoxifen for 5 years. However, research has portrayed that the medicine is effective in dealing with infertility.
Femara works by inhibiting the aromatase enzyme, hence suppressing estrogen production. This signals the brain and the pituitary gland to increase the production of follicle stimulating hormone (FSH) and luteinizing hormone (LH), hence ovulation is induced. FSH is crucial for growth and development of ovarian follicles. For women with anovulation, the rise of FSH and LH can cause ovulation, thus fertility is restored. Female with polycystic ovary syndrome, who has been unresponsive to Clomiphene Citrate can respond well to Femara leading to the development of a mature follicle in her ovary and ovulation of an egg.
If a woman is ovulating normally, treatment with fertility drug Femara can trigger the growth of multiple follicles, increasing chances of conception; the medicine can be used during intrauterine insemination. Between Femara and Clomid, which has a high pregnancy success rate? Both drugs work in a similar manner. Clomid blocks estrogen receptors, causing the pituitary gland to produce FSH and LH which stimulate the ovaries. So, the success rate is almost the same between the two fertility drugs; none is better than the other. The slight difference is the time each medicine stays in the body before it clears; Clomid stays in the body for a long time, causing unfavorable effects on the cervical mucus and the endometrium (uterus lining). Remember cervical mucus is crucial to nourish and protect the sperm as it travels through the fallopian tubes for fertilization to take place and the uterus lining supports a pregnancy. As for drug Femara, it clears from the system quickly making it have less severe side effects when compared to Clomid.
Femara isn’t limited to cancer and infertility only. It is used to improve the symptoms of endometriosis. Endometriosis is a painful condition in which the tissue resembling the uterus lining grows outside the uterus like in the fallopian tubes and ovaries. Femara reliefs the pain caused by endometriosis as estrogen production is reduced; endometriosis depends on estrogen to grow and spread.
The Drug Interactions
Femara contains Letrozole as the active ingredient. Various drug interactions have been reported with Femara, although not everyone experiences them. The most common medications which interact with it are oral contraceptives and some forms of hormonal replacement therapy. Before the doctor puts you on Letrozole, it’s advisable to inform him or her about the drugs you are taking, including herbal, recreational and over the counter medicines since it has a possibility of interacting with these drugs. Letrozole may minimize the effects of some medications in the body. In another situation it can cause most of the medicine to be released in the body than what is required, resulting in unfavorable or dangerous side effects.
Oral contraceptives, commonly termed as the pill, are taken to prevent unwanted pregnancy but can trigger negative effects such as:
- Breast tenderness
- Menstrual abnormalities
- Weight gain
Taking oral contraceptives together with Femara can worsen the above side effects, for example, the patient experiencing severe headache than normal and gaining more weight leading to obesity. It is also possible that the pills may reduce the effectiveness of Letrozole.
Hormonal replacement medications are used to manage menopausal symptoms in women and one is at risk of:
- Developing heart disease
- Having a stroke
- Breast cancer
There is a probability that hormonal replacement therapy can reduce the effectiveness of Femara, so in most cases, these two different medications aren’t combined unless the medical care provider advises otherwise.
If on Femara for infertility or to manage endometriosis and cancer, you may experience some unwanted effects while on the medication. There are severe or mild undesired effects; the mild ones clear on their own. However, for the severe effects, medical attention must be sought. The following are the possible negative effects:
- Bone fracture
- Breast pain
- Chest pain
- Chills, fever or flu-like symptoms
- Mental depression
- Shortness of breath
- Swelling of the feet or lower legs
- Back pain
- Hot flashes
- Muscle pain
- Trouble breathing
If you have any questions concerning the side effects, refer to the medical provider. Do not take this medicine if expectant, that’s why it’s crucial to be on non-hormonal contraception, like condoms. If you become pregnant, inform the medical care provider and stop taking it since it can harm the unborn baby.
Before taking Femara drug, inform the doctor about existing medical conditions and the drugs you are currently taking.