Wednesday, December 15, 2010

UK Patient Has PCOS, On Clomid For Ovulation: After First Miscarriage, Should She Continue With Clomid Or Start Injectables?


I was put on 50mg Clomid due to pcos and long cycles (42-43 days). Right away, my cycles reduced to between 26-32 days. I got pregnant on my 3rd cycle of Clomid, then miscarried.

My RE recommends that I go back on Clomid, and would like me to increase my Clomid dose to 100mg so that we can recruit more than 1 egg (since I was only ovulating one egg on the 50mg dose). I will also be taking progesterone this time.

1) Do you recommend that I increase my dose of Clomid to 100mg to recruit more than one egg (even though I was ovulating normally on the 50mg dose)?

2) If the next 3 months of Clomid are unsuccessful, my doctor recommends that I try FSH injections (since I will have been on clomid for a total of 6 consecutive months, including the 3 months before my miscarriage). Do you recommend moving to FSH injections, or staying on the Clomid since it was successful previously?

3) If I cannot get pregnant again during the next 3 months on Clomid, my doctor recommended getting a laparoscopy. Just wondering if you would recommend I proceed with a laparoscopy if I fail to get pregnant again? I feel like I just got pregnant after 3 months of Clomid, so that the procedure seems unnecessary to me. (I have also had bloodwork, SA, and HSG all come back as normal).

Thank you for your advice. Sincerely,S. from the U.K.


Hello S. from the U.K.,

I am sorry for your miscarriage. Considering your treatment plan, because you responded to 50mg of Clomid previously, you certainly don't need to increase the amount. However, your doctor's strategy is to get you to ovulate more than one egg at a time to increase your chances of pregnancy with each attempt. We call that super-ovulation. With increasing the number of eggs, you certainly will be increasing the chances of a multiple pregnancy. If that is not acceptable then stay with just 50mg.

I do not recommend moving to FSH injections yet. They certainly have a place but since you have gotten pregnant with Clomid before, I would just increase the Clomid dose. You can go up to 250 mg of Clomid. 3 months also seems like a short time frame for the trial unless you are over 35 years old. Then you might want to proceed more aggressively.

If you move up to the injections then I would also recommend that you add IUI in order to increase your chances even more. I don't recommend a laparoscopy at this time because I don't see a reason for it. I keep in mind that you were successful already with Clomid which shows that everything your body needs to do in order to achieve pregnancy can occur. The pregnancy re-sets the time frame. Now you just need to go back to the same plan and keep trying!

Follow Up Question:

Dr. Ramirez,

Thank you for your prompt reply. It is extremely helpful. I just have a few follow-up questions:

I mentioned previously that I was on Clomid for 3 months and got pregnant on the 3rd month (and miscarried). I have now been on Clomid for another 2 months since the miscarriage and not gotten pregnant yet. So I will be starting my 6th consecutive month of Clomid this month.

You recommended I continue with Clomid at a higher dose (rather than move straight to the FSH injections), since Clomid worked for me before.

1) Could please tell me what is the longest period that I can safely be on Clomid for? [I keep reading that one is only supposed to be on Clomid for a limit of 6 consecutive months. I am going to be starting my 6th consecutive month of Clomid this month]

2) I also keep reading about two negative effects that can occur with continuous use of Clomid. One is thinned lining (my lining has been fine so far). The second effect I have read about is hostile cervical mucus.

My RE said she is willing to do a post-coital test to check on cervical mucus if I want one, but that she does not consider it a reliable test. So my question is - how am I supposed to know if my cervical mucus is being affected by the Clomid? Also, since I am now entering my 6th month of Clomid use, should I consider taking an estrogen supplement which can possibly improve cervical mucus? Thank you very much for your advice. Regards,S.

Follow Up Answer:

Hello Again, When I answered your previous question, I was not implying that I agreed with continuous Clomid cycles. I do not. Because of the "antiestrogenic" effects of Clomid, I do not use Clomid on a continuous monthly basis. I alternate with Femara, but if that is not used, then Clomid should be used on an every-other month basis so as not to block the estrogen receptors, for exactly the reasons you indicated. Yet, as I stated above, your pregnancy reset the time frame.
In terms of the maximum number of months to use Clomid, there is no rule that says that Clomid needs to be stopped after a certain number of months. However, if pregnancy does not occur, then you should move on to the next level of treatment after six months. In your case, since you became pregnant, that reset the count. Because fertility treatments cannot control the pregnancy, and can only give you the opportunity to become pregnant, that is where treatment success ends. So you are now on your second cycle of Clomid, not your 5th.

Certainly if you want to move to the higher level of treatments such as Follistim, there is no reason that you should not. I only suggested the Clomid because it is less expensive, easier to use and worked for you before.

Good Luck,

Edward J. Ramirez, M.D., FACOG
Executive Medical Director
The Fertility and Gynecology Center
Monterey Bay IVF Program
Monterey, California, U.S.A.

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