Letrozole is a non-steroidal aromatase inhibitor. It is also known as femara. It is mainly used in treatment of breast cancer. It is given to patients who have been on tamoxifen for at least 5 years. Below is a discussion of other uses for letrozole.
1. To induce ovulation
When aromatase enzyme is inhibited, suppression of estrogen levels in younger women occurs. This results in an increase in output of follicle stimulating hormone from the pituitary gland. Women who have anovulation or polycystic ovary syndrome will have mature follicles due to the increase in FSH hormone. This will then cause ovulation. This is what is termed as induction of ovulation.
2. Increase pregnancy chances
Just because you are ovulating does not mean you will definitely get pregnant during your fertile days. Use of letrozole can increase the chances that you will become pregnant. It results to multiple follicles development. Consequently, multiple eggs are released. The chances of getting pregnant are high when there are multiple eggs involved compared to one. This process of stimulating multiple follicles ovulation is termed as superovulation.
3. Treatment of infertility in patients who do not respond to clomiphene citrate
Clomiphene citrate is a fertility drug, which is commonly known as clomid. It is an anti-estrogen, which binds to estrogen receptors located at the brain. By doing so, it blocks the estrogen from binding to the sites. The brain will get the message that estrogen levels are low. This process will result to release of more follicle-stimulating hormone.
However, not all women will respond to it. It works to stimulate ovulation in cases where the woman does not ovulate on her own. Letrozole is the best alternative when clomid fails to give satisfactory results.
Women who manage to ovulate while on clomiphene citrate might still have difficulties in getting pregnant. Use of letrozole in such cases will increase the probability of conceiving.
4. When clomid causes side effects
Clomid has been shown to have a lot of side effects in some women. Even though many are not life threatening, tolerating them is not that easy. They include:
- Visual disturbances
- Mood swings
- Ovarian cyst formation
- Hot flashes
- Thinning of the endometrial lining
- Abdominal discomfort
- Reduction in cervical mucous production.
Women who find it hard to go on with their normal lives because of these side effects are treated with letrozole.
5. Increase chances of multiple pregnancy
Women who want to give birth to more than one child will increase this chance by using letrozole.
The statistics are:
- 0.5% triplets
- 7% twins
- 92% singletons.
It is dangerous to self-prescribe hormonal therapy drugs due to the associated side effects. Ensure you consult a gynecologist or obstetrician for prescription before use.
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