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What is Clomiphene Citrate?

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  • Written By: J.M. Densing
  • Edited By: Jacob Harkins
  • Last Modified Date: 29 October 2016
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Clomiphene citrate is a medication used to stimulate ovulation in women who wish to become pregnant. It is used with women who do not ovulate regularly and whose partners have been established to be fertile. It is usually taken as a trial to establish the right dosage, and then for a while longer while the woman attempts to become pregnant. The timing of intercourse during this time is very important, and if pregnancy doesn't occur within six months treatment is usually stopped. Clomiphene citrate has a few unpleasant side effects, and it's important for a woman to discuss any other health issues she may have with her doctor in order to avoid serious complications.

Clomiphene citrate is also known by the brand names Clomid, Milophene, and Serophene. It works by causing the release of hormones necessary to cause ovulation, or the release of eggs from the ovaries. It is used primarily to assist women who do not ovulate regularly in producing eggs so that they may become pregnant, and before use the woman's partner is tested to confirm that they are fertile. Another use is to test a woman to be sure that she has enough eggs available in her ovaries, called a clomiphene challenge test. It is also used to stimulate the production of extra eggs in women who are using other fertility treatments like in-vitro fertilization.

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When beginning treatment with clomiphene citrate, the medication is typically taken five days in a row early in the woman's menstrual cycle, if ovulation does not occur, a different dosage will be tried. Once the correct dosage has been established, the woman will take the medicine for three to six more cycles while actively attempting to become pregnant. It is important that intercourse be timed properly to increase the chance of there being healthy sperm available to fertilize the released egg when ovulation occurs. If the woman does not become pregnant after trying for six menstrual cycles, clomiphene citrate is usually discontinued and other treatments are tried.

A few common side effects of clomiphene citrate include hot flashes, irritability, nausea, headaches, breast tenderness and abdominal discomfort. The abdominal discomfort is often caused by an over-stimulation of the ovaries called ovarian hyperstimulation and can be accompanied by enlarged ovaries; more severe cases can also exhibit vomiting, and shortness of breath, and in rare instances it can be life threatening. Other less common side effects can also include blurred vision or hair loss. All side effects should be reported to a doctor for evaluation.

Before taking clomiphene citrate, a woman should discuss any medication use or health issues with her doctor, especially any history of ovarian cysts or abnormal vaginal bleeding which are contraindications for clomiphene use. It also shouldn't be taken if there is any history of liver problems, abnormalities of the brain, pituitary gland tumors, or uncontrolled thyroid or adrenal gland disorders. The safety of long-term use hasn't been established, so treatment times longer than six months are typically not recommended.

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