Clomid vs. Femara: A Look at Fertility Pills
Out of all the women who are treated with these drugs, 60-80% will ovulate, but only half of those will become pregnant.
The fertility drugs Clomiphene Citrate (Clomid) and Letrozole (Femara) are both used by women with cycle abnormalities and are prescribed to help the pituitary gland improve stimulation of developing follicles, or eggs, in the ovaries. Both these drugs are pills that stimulate the release of FSH and LH, which are crucial hormones to egg production.
“Both these drugs have decent success rates, and there are reasons to use both,” said Dr. Randall R. Odem, Division Chief of Reproductive Endocrinology at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis. “The results are not dramatically different.”
Clomid has been used over 40 years to restore ovulation and correct fertility problems and is known as “the fertility pill.” Clomid fools the body into thinking its estrogen levels are low. As opposed to Femera, the drug has a consistent success rate and longstanding history.
Femara is much newer and was developed primarily for the treatment of women with post-menopausal breast cancer, not fertility issues, and blocks estrogen production. Femara is considered an aromatase inhibitor that reduces the production of estrogen, which causes the brain to secrete FSH and LH. Femara is not FDA approved to use for fertility, but its generic, Letrozole, has been used successfully for it quite often.
“I don't foresee Femara being FDA approved for fertility use because approval is so expensive and the money spent on it would be lost income because people already use it in its off-brand for fertility,” explained Dr. Odem.