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Fewer Multiple Embryos With Femara in Unexplained Infertility

But also lower frequency of live birth, compared with gonadotropin

THURSDAY, Sept. 24, 2015 (HealthDay News) -- Use of letrozole (Femara) may reduce a couple's risk of having a pregnancy with multiple embryos -- but it might also slightly lower their chances of a live birth, a new clinical trial suggests. The study was published in the Sept. 24 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine.

Michael Diamond, M.D., professor and chair of the department of obstetrics and gynecology at Georgia Regents University in Augusta, and colleagues randomly assigned 900 women to undergo ovarian stimulation (for up to four treatment cycles) with either clomiphene, gonadotropin, or letrozole.

In the end, 32 percent of women on gonadotropin gave birth, versus 23 percent of women on clomiphene and 19 percent of those on letrozole. However, the difference between the clomiphene and letrozole groups was not statistically significant. Gonadotropin led to a higher birth rate, but it also raised couples' odds of having twins or triplets. Eight percent of women on the drug had twins, and 2 percent had triplets, the research revealed. One percent of women on clomiphene had twins, as did 3 percent of those taking letrozole. None of the women on either clomiphene or letrozole had triplets.

"In women with unexplained infertility, ovarian stimulation with letrozole resulted in a significantly lower frequency of multiple gestation but also a lower frequency of live birth, as compared with gonadotropin but not as compared with clomiphene," the authors write.

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