Breast Cancer Drug Shown to Help With Common Infertility Disorder

Researchers found that almost 28 percent of the women taking letrozole had babies after five cycles, compared with about 19 percent of those taking clomiphene.

Also, women taking letrozole had fewer twin pregnancies, compared with those taking clomiphene -- about 3 percent versus 7 percent, the study found.

"Clomiphine may be trumped," [lead researcher Dr. Richard Legro, a professor of obstetrics and gynecology at Penn State University's College of Medicine in Hershey, Penn.] said. "To see a 40 percent improvement in birth rate is a huge difference."

For now, doctors such as Dr. Avner Hershlag, an infertility specialist at the North Shore-LIJ Health System in Manhasset, N.Y., are prescribing both letrozole and clomiphene to their patients. The choice of which prescription to use for a patient is based on several factors, such as insurance coverage and cost.

Roughly 5 to 10 percent of reproductive-age women in America have PCOS, making it the most common cause of female infertility. Symptoms include high levels of the male hormone androgen, irregular periods, and small cysts on the ovaries.

Trying to conceive? Our ovulation calculator can help.

Image via Shutterstock.

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