There are many options of fertility medications available. If the doctor diagnosed you with infertility, you were put on Clomid, but the drug didn’t work for you. You decided to seek a second opinion from a fertility specialist to discuss other medicines that you can use. An example of a drug that the doctor may recommend is Gonal-F. Ask the fertility expert about the drug side effects and what to do in case they occur. Have a notebook and write down a list of negative effects of this medication that you may be faced with; this will give you the courage and confidence to use the drug, you know what to expect as far as the unfavorable effects are concerned and the actions to take.
How does the drug work?
First, it’s important to understand what Gonal-F is before knowing how it works. Gonal-F is an injection hormone. It contains Follitropin Alpha (as the active ingredient) which is the same as FSH (follicle stimulating hormone); Gonal F is a brand name. FSH is linked to human reproduction. As you use this medication, be on the lookout for the drug negative effects. You can’t take it orally because once it gets to the stomach; the acids will destroy FSH prior absorption in your body. This medication has an impact on the ovaries and testicles. Therefore, it can be used by men and women to correct infertility and enjoy the journey to parenthood, although they are at risk of being faced with unwanted effects.
This drug will stimulate your follicle and the eggs to grow if you have challenges conceiving caused by problems with ovulation. The drug can also be used if you have a deficiency of FSH and LH, but you have to take it together with a man-made LH drug. Once the follicles develop, HCG is administered to trigger ovulation. Always call your doctor if you come across the side effects of Gonal F injections that you are uncomfortable with. In men, this medication aids in production and growth of sperm in a man’s testicles. It increases sperm count and must also be used in combination with HCG for Gonal-F to be effective. The drug is also used if you are going through assisted reproductive technology (ART) such as in-vitro fertilization (IVF) and you won’t be spared from undesired effects. In IVF, once the growth and development have been triggered by Gonal F and HCG, the eggs are harvested, fertilized outside your body and the embryo implanted in your womb.
Before the doctor puts you on this drug, he may start you on gonadotropin-releasing hormone agonist (GnRHa). GnRHa decreases the FSH production by the pituitary gland and replaces it with Gonal-F. This enables the doctor to use the injection daily in proper amounts to restore fertility.
Gonal-F side effects
Gonal-F is a fertility drug that is easy to use, more so Gonal-F pen. The drug is Pre-filled with Follitropin Alpha ready for use. No need to mix, measure and the needle is very small. The pen has scales to help you know the exact dose ready to be used. It minimizes dosing errors; no worry for an overdose nor an under dose. You press the pen to the numeral that indicates the dose prescribed. But that does not mean there are no unwanted effects of the Gonal F pen. You may experience a few underside effects or none at all.
Common negative effects
- Mild abdominal pain
- Pelvic pain
- Injection reactions on the injected spot like redness, bruising, swelling, pain, and irritation
- Breast pain, swelling or tenderness
- Stuffy or a runny nose
- Sore throat
- Acne or skin rash
If the above negative effects are persistent, you can contact the doctor. He will give you tips on how to deal with them or give medication to ease the undesirable effects. For example, skin rash can be painful if it persists and the doctor can give medication to relieve the redness, itchiness and dry skin brought about by the skin rash. For some undesired effects, they will disappear with time, you only need to patient. Nevertheless, if the negative effects are a nuisance, don’t hesitate to inform the doctor to give a solution. Apart from the common side effects; you can be faced with unlikely serious side effects such as:
- Unusual bleeding from the uterus or vaginal
- Pain, swelling, and redness in the calf muscles
- Swelling of ankles, hands or feet
- Cold, numb, pale skin of the arms, legs, hands and feet
- OHSS (ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome) – ask the doctor to tell you about the symptoms of OHSS like severe pain and vomiting or nausea.
- Allergic reactions like rash and trouble breathing– you may be allergic to some ingredients of Gonal F
You have to take some measures before, during and after use of Gonal F to mitigate the occurrence of side effects. Observe the following precautions:
- It is crucial to schedule regular visits to the clinic for the doctor to check the progress and to detect the drug negative effects. Your doctor may request you to record basal body temperature (BBT) daily. It will help you predict when you are most fertile and time ovulation. The doctor will give you directions on how to record the findings.
- If you have any existing allergies or allergic to products containing FSH, inform the doctor beforehand.
- Be open on your medical history like primary ovarian failure, abnormal bleeding without any cause, cancer of the breast, uterus or ovary, heart disease and any other condition concerning your health.
- If you become pregnant, stop using the medication and if you suspect you are pregnant, inform the doctor.
- The drug may put you at risk of getting an ectopic pregnancy. An early ultrasound should be carried out to confirm the fetus is developing inside your uterus, but not the fallopian tubes
- If you have an ovarian cyst, inform the doctor to determine if the drug suits you.
The drug treatment should be carried out under the strict supervision of a trained specialist for it to be effective, efficient and to handle Gonal-F side effects if at all they occur.