Clomifene is prescribed to help you to get pregnant if you are not ovulating properly.
It will be prescribed for a maximum of six treatment cycles. Most women who respond to treatment do so within three treatments.
Side-effects tend to be mild, but you should speak with your doctor as soon as possible if you get abdominal pain or discomfort, or if you have any problems with your eyesight.
|Type of medicine||An anti-oestrogen medicine|
|Used for||Treatment of female infertility|
Clomifene is used to treat infertility in women who are not ovulating properly.
Ovulation (the release of eggs) is in part controlled by hormones, called gonadotrophins, which stimulate the activity of the ovaries. The gonadotrophins are made by the pituitary gland, pass into the bloodstream and then travel to the ovaries. Clomifene works by blocking a feedback mechanism to the pituitary gland. This results in the pituitary making and releasing more gonadotrophin hormones than normal. The extra amount of gonadotrophin hormones stimulate the ovaries to ovulate.
Before taking clomifene
Some medicines are not suitable for people with certain conditions, and sometimes a medicine may only be used if extra care is taken. For these reasons, before you start taking clomifene it is important that your doctor knows:
- If you think you may already be pregnant.
- If you have liver problems.
- If you have been told you have ovarian cysts or uterine fibroids.
- If you have been told you have a hormone-dependent tumour (this is a cancer which is made worse by hormones).
- If you have heavy or unusual menstrual periods.
- If you are taking any other medicines. This includes any medicines you are taking which are available to buy without a prescription, such as herbal and complementary medicines.
- If you have ever had an allergic reaction to a medicine.
How to take clomifene
- Before you start the treatment, read the manufacturer's printed information leaflet from inside the pack. It will give you more information about clomifene and will provide you with a full list of the side-effects which you may experience from taking it.
- Take the tablets exactly as your doctor tells you to. Clomifene is taken in treatment cycles of five days - this means that you will take one dose daily for five days of the month. A five-day cycle is usually started around the second day of your period, but you must follow the advice your doctor gives to you about when to start taking each cycle. For the first course of treatment, take one 50 mg tablet daily for five days. Your dose may be increased to two tablets daily on subsequent courses if your doctor thinks this is necessary.
- Swallow the tablet with a drink of water. Try to take the tablets at the same time of day on each of the five days. This will help you to remember to take them.
- If you do forget to take a dose, speak with your doctor, as you may need to change your treatment cycle. Do not take two doses together to make up for a forgotten dose.
Getting the most from your treatment
- Keep your regular appointments with your doctor. This is so your doctor can check on your progress.
- Twins and multiple pregnancy are more common with clomifene than with some other forms of infertility treatment. This is because the ovaries may be stimulated so that more than one egg is released and therefore more than one egg may be fertilised.
- It is recommended that clomifene is taken for no more than six treatment cycles. This is because there have been rare reports of ovarian cancer and the risk of this is thought to increase when clomifene is taken for longer than six cycles.
Can clomifene cause problems?
Along with their useful effects, most medicines can cause unwanted side-effects although not everyone experiences them. The table below contains some of the most common ones associated with clomifene. You will find a full list in the manufacturer's information leaflet supplied with your medicine. The unwanted effects usually improve as your body adjusts to the new medicine, but speak with your doctor or pharmacist if any of the following continue or become troublesome.
|Common clomifene side-effects (these affect less than 1 in 10 women)||What can I do if I experience this?|
|Feeling flushed||Wear light clothes and try to keep yourself cool|
|Feeling sick||Stick to simple meals - avoid rich or spicy foods|
|Headache, breast discomfort, painful periods, bleeding between periods||If troublesome, speak with your doctor|
|Abdominal or pelvic pain or discomfort, feeling bloated, weight gain||Speak with your doctor straightaway as you may need an examination to find out what is causing these symptoms|
|Eyesight problems such as blurred vision, or spots or flashes in front of your eyes||Speak with your doctor straightaway as you will need an eye test as soon as possible. Take particular care if you drive or use tools or machines|
If you experience any other symptoms which you think may be due to the tablets, speak with your doctor or pharmacist for further advice.
How to store clomifene
- Keep all medicines out of the reach and sight of children.
- Store in a cool, dry place, away from direct heat and light.
Important information about all medicines
Never take more than the prescribed dose. If you suspect that you or someone else might have taken an overdose of this medicine, go to the accident and emergency department of your local hospital. Take the container with you, even if it is empty.
This medicine is for you. Never give it to other people even if their condition appears to be the same as yours.
If you are having an operation or dental treatment, tell the person carrying out the treatment which medicines you are taking.
If you buy any medicines, check with a pharmacist that they are safe to take with your other medicines.
Do not keep out-of-date or unwanted medicines. Take them to your local pharmacy which will dispose of them for you.
If you have any questions about this medicine ask your pharmacist.
Further reading & references
- Manufacturer's PIL, Clomid® Tablets; Sanofi, The electronic Medicines Compendium. Dated August 2013.
- British National Formulary; 67th Edition (March 2014) British Medical Association and Royal Pharmaceutical Society of Great Britain, London
Disclaimer: This article is for information only and should not be used for the diagnosis or treatment of medical conditions. EMIS has used all reasonable care in compiling the information but make no warranty as to its accuracy. Consult a doctor or other health care professional for diagnosis and treatment of medical conditions. For details see our conditions.
Dr Helen Huins