Ovulation is a process that usually occurs naturally in women’s body every month. You can increase your chances of pregnancy by having sexual intercourse around the time of ovulation. But some women face problems in ovulation due to various reasons, such as polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS). Gynecologists prescribe letrozole tablets for these women as an option for treating infertility. In this article, you will learn about letrozole and fertility and how you should take them.
What is Letrozole?
Letrozole tablet with the brand name Femara is one of the oral medications for inducing ovulation. It is prescribed for women suffering from polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) and unexplained infertility as a treatment option.
It should be noted that Femara is a prescription drug for the treatment of breast cancer. It is approved by the American Food and Drug Administration since 2001. But it has been prescribed by fertility specialists as an infertility medication in recent years. It is worth knowing that the side effects of letrozole for fertility are fewer as compared to clomiphene citrate (Clomid). Additionally, letrozole also reduces the risk of multiples.
Clomiphene tablets are among the first prescriptions in the first line of fertility treatment for women with PCOS. It is interesting to know that according to new research, letrozole fertility increases the chance of pregnancy much more than Clomid in women with PCOS. Letrozole is also prescribed when there is resistance to clomiphene.
Use Cases of Letrozole Tablets
Women with PCOS
This fertility medication is more useful than clomiphene, and it stimulates the ovaries in women with polycystic ovary syndrome.
People who are resistant to clomiphene
Sometimes, even with an increasing clomiphene dosage, the fertility drug cannot stimulate the ovaries. In such cases, letrozole can be useful.
Infertility treatment (pre-cancer treatment)
in women with breast cancer, taking medications that stimulate the ovaries and increase the level of estrogen causes the tumor to grow faster. In this case, letrozole increases the estrogen level in the body and stimulates the ovaries.
Treatment of endometriosis
Sometimes this fertility drug is used to treat endometriosis. It is used in people whose purpose is not to stimulate the ovaries, but to reduce pelvic pain.
How to Take Letrozole
Before starting treatment for infertility with letrozole, read the medicine leaflet inside the package carefully. This leaflet will help you get comprehensive information about the medication. By reading it, you can also learn about the possible side effects of letrozole for fertility. Also, if you have any questions regarding its use, consult your gynecologist.
The dose and amount of letrozole vary from person to person. Use the medicine exactly as prescribed by your doctor. Regular and continuous use of this medicine plays a significant role in improving the treatment process.
If you forget to take a dose of letrozole, take the missed dose immediately. In case it is less than 3 hours before the next dose, you must omit the missed dose. In this case, do not take the missed dose and take the next dose as usual.
Even if you feel better, do not stop taking medicine without consulting with your doctor and completing the course of treatment.
Some people may ask about foods to avoid while taking letrozole for fertility. However, you should know that there is no food abstinence while taking this medicine. In addition, letrozole can be taken with or without food.
How Many Cycles of Letrozole to Get Pregnant?
Femara is a yellow-coated tablet with a dosage of 2.5 mg. The doctor will dictate the time to start the treatment according to the start of your menstrual bleeding. The treatment is carried out for five consecutive days.
Some fertility experts recommend that you take letrozole on days 3, 4, 5, 6, and 7 of the menstrual cycle. Another group of doctors considers days 5, 6, 7, 8, and 9 of the cycle. There are opinions about the best timing for taking the pills. However, according to recent reviews, both timings have almost the same effect.
Note that according to the start time of the letrozole treatment period, you can determine the time to start sexual intercourse. For example, if you start on the third day of your cycle, ovulation will probably occur between days 14 and 17 of the cycle. Therefore, in order to conceive, you need to have intercourse before ovulation. As a result, you should have intercourse every day starting from the 11th day of the cycle and ending on the 18th day of the cycle.
The attending physician will provide you with the necessary guidance regarding the days of taking the pill. But if you start your treatment on the fifth day of your cycle, you will most likely ovulate between days 16 and 19 of your cycle. Therefore, you should have sex between days 13-21 of the cycle.
Don't forget that if you want to better determine the ovulation rate, there are some kits on the market for this purpose. Note that after completing the treatment period, you can use the ovulation kit and continue doing this every day until you see a positive result. This positive result is when you are close to the ovulation period. By doing this, you will also know the time to start having sexual intercourse during the period of conceiving with letrozole.
Side Effects of Letrozole for Fertility
Symptoms like Cramps, hair loss, pain in joints/bones/muscles, mood swings, fatigue, abnormal sweating, nausea, dizziness, vomiting, and trouble sleeping may appear when taking letrozole. In case any of the mentioned side effects persist or worsen, call your doctor/midwife right away. Remember that the doctors prescribe letrozole because the benefits outweigh the risks of the side effects of letrozole for fertility. Many people do not experience any serious side effect when taking letrozole for fertility.
Tell your midwife/doctor if any of the following serious side effects occur.
- Broken bones
- Mood swings (depression or anxiety)
- Swelling in arms or legs
- Persistent nausea or vomiting
- abnormal fatigue
- Blurred vision
- Dark urine
- Jaundice of eyes/skin
Just in rare cases, this fertility drug may lead to serious blood clotting problems (e.g., heart attack or even stroke). Seek medical help immediately if you have any of the following symptoms.
- Sudden shortness of breath
- Pain in your chest/jaw/left arm
- Coughing up blood
- Sudden dizziness or fainting
- Pain/swelling/warmth in your groin
- Arm or leg weakness/tingling/numbness
- Slurred speech
- Weakening of one side of your body
- Changes in vision
- Severe/sudden headaches
Letrozole rarely cause highly serious allergic reaction, but seek medical help immediately if you have the following signs.
- Serious allergic reaction (hives, itching, or swelling on your face or tongue, or throat)
- Difficulty breathing
Letrozole and Pregnancy
This medicine should not be taken during pregnancy. This medicine may harm the unborn baby. Letrozole is mainly used in postmenopausal women. If you have gone through menopause recently, talk to your doctor. You have to tell him/her about the need to use reliable birth control while you are taking this medicine and for 21 days after stopping treatment. Do not consume estrogen-containing birth control products. Consult your doctor for more details. If you are pregnant or think you may be pregnant, tell your doctor right away.
It is not known whether this medication can pass into the mother’s breast milk. Due to the possible risk of the drug to the infant, breastfeeding is not recommended while taking it. It is also recommended to avoid breastfeeding for at least 21 days after stopping the treatment. Consult your doctor before breastfeeding.
The process of trying to conceive for those couples who are not able to get pregnant naturally and on a specific schedule can be time-consuming, troublesome, and even frustrating. We recommend that you must proceed with patience to get the desired result. If your doctor prescribes letrozole for infertility, follow the treatment process exactly according to the instructions to increase the effectiveness of letrozole. If you fail or forget to take the medicine, the result of your efforts and patience will be lost.