Easier Fertility Regime Possible - 12-Jun-2012 6:00pm CST

Fertility injections weekly just as effective as daily but not yet available in US

/ Author:  / Reviewed by: Robert Carlson, M.D

(RxWiki News) Aside from the psychological and emotional stress of fertility problems, going through fertility treatments takes a physical toll on women too. Fortunately, the burden can be lessened

A recent study has found that fertility injections of follicle stimulating hormone (FSH) given once a week are just as effective as daily injections.

This weekly injection does not appear to be available in the U.S., yet.

"Ask your fertility doctor about FSH injections."

Senior author Jan Kremer, of the Radboud University Nijmegen Medical Center in the Netherlands, and colleagues reviewed research study on FSH injections to compare the safety and effectiveness of weekly and daily injections.

FSH is a hormone that helps increase the number of eggs a woman's ovaries release each month, increasing the likelihood that the couple will have a couple of good eggs to be extracted for in vitro fertilization (IVF).

Giving yourself a shot every day is painful and stressful, so doing it less often would likely be welcomed by women already undergoing a grueling regime for fertility treatments.

A new FSH that lasts longer, called corifollitropin alfa, can replace the first seven days of FSH daily injections more commonly used now.

In reviewing four trials with a total of 2,335 people, the researchers found that women given medium doses of corifollitropin alfa once a week were just as likely to become pregnant as those who received daily injections - but they were no more likely to experience a miscarriage or ectopic pregnancy.

"These results show that the new long-acting injections are a safe treatment option and equally effective in medium doses compared to the standard daily injections," said Kremer.

This does not necessarily mean weekly injections are "better." This may be a personal decision for a couple, and further research would need to be done to see whether the weekly injections are any different than daily ones for women with poor responses to FSH or those who produce exceptionally high numbers of eggs.

Corifollitropin alfa is currently available in Europe, costing about $800 per injection. The drug is currently in clinical trials in the U.S., but it does not appear to have been submitted to the Food and Drug Administration for approval yet.

The study appeared in the Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews on June 12. No information was available regarding external funding or conflicts of interest.

Reviewed by: 
Review Date: 
June 9, 2012
Last Updated:
June 11, 2012