Femara, with the generic name letrozole, is an aromatase inhibitor. This oral drug usually treats breast cancer, but doctors discovered this medication can also help improve fertility in women with conditions like polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) and anovulation, which is a problem with ovulation. By suppressing estrogen, the drug can help induce ovulation, increasing the chance of pregnancy.
Doctors may prescribe the drug to women who want to conceive a child but are having fertility problems. This is usually due to conditions like anovulation, in which the women have ovulation problems, including polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS), in which hormones disrupt menstruation and ovulation. Sometimes doctors will prescribe this drug as an alternative to Clomid, generic name clomiphene citrate, which is one of the more common fertility drugs. Some women do not respond to Clomid, and some do ovulate while using Clomid but do not become pregnant. Still others complain of Clomid side effects. In these cases, doctors may choose to prescribe Femara for infertility instead, either on its own or in conjunction with in vitro fertilization (IVF) treatments. Studies have also suggested that when women who have PCOS take Femara, they have a higher chance of not only conception but also of a live birth than those taking clomiphene. A previous study had suggested an increase in birth defects when women took this drug, and a later study did not support this finding, but some doctors may hesitate before prescribing the drug as a precaution.
Doctors may also prescribe this medicine to men. When men are aging, the medication could help balance their testosterone and estrogen levels.
The active ingredient in Femara is letrozole which belongs to a family of medicines called antineoplastics, specifically nonsteroidal aromatase inhibitors.
As an aromatase inhibitor, Femara and its generic version letrozole work to suppress aromatase, which helps to reduce estrogen levels. The reduction in estrogen can prompt the brain and pituitary gland to increase the amount of follicle stimulating hormone (FSH). The FSH stimulates follicles to form in the ovaries which are then released through ovulation, increasing both the number and frequency of eggs released. Doctors refer to this process as controlled ovarian hyperstimulation or superovulation. This increase in eggs, in turn, increases the chance of a successful conception.
When your doctor gives you a Femara prescription, they will give you instructions on when to take this oral fertility medication and when you should be stopping the drug treatments. However, a common drug treatment schedule includes taking a 2.5 mg tablet on the fifth day after your menstrual period begins, and continuing to take one pill a day up until the ninth day. Another common treatment schedule includes taking two tablets, for a total of 5 mg, starting on the third day after your menstrual period begins, and continuing to take two pills a day for a total of five days. Doctors may tell women who are overweight or not having success so far with their Femara treatments to increase their dosage to three tablets a day, which is 7.5 mg. You will generally ovulate on about day ten or eleven, and when testing indicates you are ovulating, you should have sexual intercourse or visit your fertility clinic for intrauterine insemination.
For women who do ovulate, Femara can be prescribed for superovulation, or to induce the production of multiple eggs per cycle. (Normally, just one egg is released per cycle.) Thereby increasing the likelihood of at least one egg being fertilized.
Studies suggest that the likelihood of getting pregnant using letrozole is about the same as using Clomid. Successful pregnancies depend on many factors, including the sperm quality, age of the woman, egg and embryo quality, and receptivity of the uterus.
Femara is indicated for the treatment of hormone receptor-positive invasive early breast cancer; first-line therapy in postmenopausal women with advanced breast cancer; and hormonal treatment of advanced metastatic breast cancer.
Sometimes estrogen stimulates the growth of some types of breast cancer. Femara inhibits the production of estrogen, thereby the growth of breast cancer is reduced.
The usual dosage is one tablet per day. The drug can be taken with or without food. The tablet should be swallowed whole with water at the same time each day.
Tell your doctor if you are taking any other medicines, vitamins or natural health products, especially tamoxifen or other anti-estrogen therapies.
The lack of estrogen may lead to side effects like hot flushes, hair loss or vaginal bleeding.
Although most reputable sources of information and clinical research mention little about fertility side effects, some fertility centers where doctors prescribe Femara off label report some 10% to 20% of women taking clomiphene or medication containing letrozole will experience side effects. Most experience minor side effects and often only temporarily.
When you first start taking Femara, since it can cause dizziness and vision problems, take caution when driving or operating other machinery. Store the drug at room temperature, away from moisture and heat, and keep this fertility medication out of the reach of children.
Doctors may prescribe Clomid which has a generic name clomifene to increase the production of eggs and increase the chances of conception. If this first-line therapy is not effective, Femara may be prescribed. Read more about Clomid by clicking here.
During intrauterine insemination, prepared sperm are placed into the uterus at the same time the egg is being released. Fertility drugs like Femara help induce ovulation at a certain time in order to have eggs be available in the fallopian tubes when the sperm in inserted, thereby increasing the chances of fertilization.
Polycystic means “many cysts” and PCOS often causes fluid-filled cysts in the ovaries which contain immature eggs. For women who are having difficulty getting pregnant due to Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome, Clomid is usually prescribed first to induce the release of eggs. If Clomid is not effective, Femara may be prescribed which has been shown to help with ovulation when other drugs fail.
Tamoxifen is used to treat some types of breast cancer by blocking the production of estrogen in the breast. Some studies have suggested that the outcome of treatment with Femara is better than with tamoxifen. More research is needed to confirm these findings. Read more about Tamoxifen by clicking here.
You should generally use Femara along with a fertility monitor and ovulation test strips to find the best day to conceive.
Anovulation refers to an ovulation problem. Although a normal ovary may release an egg about every four weeks, and ovulation may not occur once in a while, when a woman does not ovulate for three months or longer it is called anovulation. Without an egg being released from the ovaries, there is no chance of conception. Anovulation is commonly caused by a hormonal imbalance, such as polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS), but it can also be caused by a blockage or by a lack of eggs.
Fertility treatments can have a high cost, but fertility drugs can be more affordable. By partnering with licensed Canadian pharmacies, YouDrugstore helps people like you order affordable Femara with free shipping. Talk to your fertility doctor about which fertility drugs are right for you, and if they prescribe this drug, fill your prescription at YouDrugstore. Submit an online form or call our customer service hotline for Femara fertility drug delivery to your home.