Clomiphene is the most commonly prescribed fertility drug and is used to help you conceive if you have polycystic ovary syndrome or if you ovulate irregularly or not at all.
Your doctor may also recommend clomiphene (alone or in combination with other fertility drugs) before you begin an assisted reproductive technology (ART) treatment, such as in vitro fertilization (IVF).
Clomiphene, usually taken as a pill for one five-day cycle each month, causes your pituitary gland to release more follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) and luteinizing hormone (LH). FSH prompts your ovaries to produce one or more mature eggs and LH tells your ovaries to release your mature egg or eggs into your fallopian tubes. Most women who take clomiphene go through three to six cycles of treatment-your chances of getting pregnant do not improve if you take the drug for a longer period of time. You will need to be checked by your doctor on a regular basis to see if ovulation is occurring. If you do not succeed after three cycles, your doctor may recommend a higher dose of clomiphene or another treatment such as a different fertility drug or an assisted reproductive technology (ART).
Clomiphene may cause some side effects: swelling of the ovaries, stomach pain, breast tenderness, insomnia, nausea and vomiting, blurred vision, headaches, fatigue, irritability, depression, and weight gain-these are usually mild and clear after the medication is stopped. Some women also develop a condition called ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome (OHSS), a condition in which your ovaries swell to several times their size and leak fluid into your abdomen causing weight gain, a bloated feeling, and sometimes shortness of breath, dizziness, pelvic pain, nausea, and vomiting. OHSS happens when a woman responds too well to the clomiphene and produces too many eggs. OHSS usually resolves itself without any residual problems, but in some women may be severe. Up to 80 percent of women who take clomiphene will ovulate, usually within the first three months of treatment. Of those women who ovulate, about 40 percent get pregnant. There is also an approximately 10 percent chance that you will conceive twins with clomiphene.