Femara (Letrozole)

Femara is an oral fertility drug used in the treatment of PCOS, or polycystic ovarian syndrome.

PCOS and Femara

IVF babyFemara, the brand name version of the generic letrozole, is a drug that has primarily been used in the treatment of post-menopausal breast cancer. Classified as an aromatase inhibitor, Femara works by blocking estrogen production.

In women with anovulation (absence of ovulation) due to PCOS, reducing estrogen levels in the body triggers the brain and pituitary gland to release follicle stimulating hormone (FSH), which helps in the follicles mature and induces ovulation.

Reproductive endocrinologists sometimes prescribe Femara for women who do not ovulate. The drug may also be used as an alternative to Clomid in women who don’t respond to Clomid or who ovulate but do not become pregnant after taking Clomid.

Femara pills are usually given for a period of 5 days, starting on day three of the menstrual cycle.

Side Effects of Femara

The reduced estrogen levels associated with Femara can lead to the following symptoms in some women:

Hot flashes
Headaches
Breast tenderness

A 2005 Canadian study suggested there might be a higher rate of birth defects in women who took letrozole to become pregnant, but a subsequent study published in a 2006 issue of the journal Fertility and Sterility disputed this.

The more recent, larger study found Letrozole to be as safe as Clomid. Furthermore, study authors pointed out, Femara appears to completely clear the system before fertilization occurs, making it highly unlikely the drug could cause congenital malformations.

The fertility specialist at Dallas-Fort Worth Fertility Associates care for women with Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) and the use of Femara. Our physicians care for patients in Southlake, Keller, Grapevine, Colleyville, Denton and their surrounding areas.

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