Clomiphene (Clomid or Serophene) is a medication that has been used to treat infertility for more than 30 years. Clomiphene causes the pituitary gland to secrete an increased amount of follicle stimulating hormones and luteinizing hormones, which stimulate ovulation, increase progesterone secretion during the second half of the menstrual cycle and make menstrual cycle lengths more predictable. These effects are useful in treating absent or irregular menstrual cycles, or to improve the timing of intercourse or artificial insemination.
Clomiphene is taken orally for five days, starting on day two, three, four or five of your cycle. You will be instructed when to begin clomiphene and how much to take. Dosages can vary from 1/2 to five pills per day. If taking more than one pill daily, these may be taken all at once or spread out during the day.
Clomiphene has some side effects. Although not permanent or dangerous, they may be noticeable and even become bothersome. Most patients have no side effects. Side effects include:
- Hot flashes, or feelings of heat in the neck and face.
- Mild blurring of vision, often noted at night.
- Mood changes, or heightened feelings of emotion, sometimes marked by irritability or increased sensitivity. The response is highly individual, as some women do not experience mood changes.
- Ovulation pain resulting from increased ovarian stimulation. It is not uncommon to notice increased ovarian sensitivity around the time of ovulation.
- Ovarian cysts; a small, fluid-filled follicle cyst may form from an unreleased egg. These cysts usually do not cause symptoms and disappear spontaneously after the following menstrual period. They almost never require surgical treatment.
- Twins. There is a 10 percent chance of conceiving twins when taking Clomiphene, but no increased risk of triplets or more. There is no increased risk of birth defects after taking Clomiphene.
Clomiphene is active only in the month it is taken and does not require a “build-up” in order to be effective. It need not be taken in a cycle where pregnancy will not be possible. It is not uncommon to note a decreased menstrual flow when taking Clomiphene. This does not indicate a lack of effectiveness. Your prescription will be refillable, so use a convenient pharmacy.