Chorionic Gonadotropin (Injection, Intramuscular, Subcutaneous)

Chorionic gonadotropin is a synthetic drug that is used to treat fertility problems in women and to stimulate normal sexual development in men.

Overview

Chorionic gonadotropin is a synthetic drug that mimics the function of luteinizing hormones that are usually produced naturally in the placenta during pregnancy or by the pituitary gland.

In women, chorionic gonadotropin is used as a fertility aid. The medication is usually given together with certain other fertility drugs, including urofollitropin and menotropins when treatment with other drugs has failed. Chorionic gonadotropin is also included as part of IVF therapy programs, but it is not appropriate for use in women whose ovaries no longer produce eggs.

Chorionic gonadotropin and luteinizing hormones are used in men to persuade the testes to produce more testosterone and other male hormones. These hormones cause the testes and penis to develop, and underarm and pubic hair to grow. LH also stimulates the production of sperm. Chorionic gonadotropin is commonly used in boys who are late developers to encourage the testes to descend into the scrotum and to promote normal sexual development.

Chorionic gonadotropin has been used as part of a fad diet and weight loss regimen, but this can be extremely dangerous when used in this way, and the practice is now illegal in many countries.

  • Profasi
  • Pregnyl
  • Ovidrel
  • Novarel
  • Chorex

The medication is usually only administered by a trained medical professional and is only available on prescription. Chorionic gonadotropin comes as a solution or as a powder for solution.

Conditions treated

  • male sexual development
  • female infertility

Type of medicine

  • synthetic hormone
  • fertility aid
  • solution
  • powder for solution

Side effects

Although taking chorionic gonadotropin will help your condition, there is a chance that you may notice a few side effects when taking it. You must tell the doctor who is treating you if know that you are allergic to any other medicines, or if you suffer from any known allergies to certain preservatives, dyes, foodstuffs, or animal derivatives.

The following side effects are sometimes noticed by women who are undergoing treatment with chorionic gonadotropin:

  • swelling of feet or lower legs
  • stomach or pelvic pain
  • shortness of breath
  • severe pelvic pain
  • severe abdominal or stomach pain
  • rapid weight gain
  • persistent or severe diarrhea
  • nausea, vomiting
  • moderate to severe bloating
  • mild bloating
  • indigestion
  • decreased amount of urine

The following side effects are sometimes noticed by boys who are undergoing treatment with chorionic gonadotropin:

  • acne
  • growth of genitals
  • proliferation of pubic hair
  • growth spurts
  • breathing problems
  • flushing of the skin
  • hives or welts
  • itching of the skin
  • big, hive-like swellings on eyelids, face, lips, throat, tongue, hands, feet, legs, or genitals
  • pain in groin, chest, or legs, particularly the calves
  • skin redness
  • severe, sudden headaches
  • skin rashes
  • slurred speech
  • sudden loss of coordination
  • severe and sudden numbness or weakness in one arm or leg
  • sudden breathlessness
  • tightness in the chest
  • unusually warm skin
  • visual changes
  • wheezing

You should talk to your doctor as soon as possible if you notice any of the aforementioned effects.

Many of the effects listed below will resolve themselves without the need for further medical treatment, once the body acclimatizes to the drug. Take your GP's advice on how best to manage these effects if they are persistent or particularly troublesome.

  • trouble sleeping
  • trouble concentrating
  • tiredness
  • pain at place of injection
  • loss of interest or pleasure
  • lack of appetite
  • irritability
  • headache
  • feeling sad or empty
  • enlargement of breasts
  • discouragement

Some women may continue to experience a few unwanted side effects after they have concluded their course of treatment with this medication. You should check with your GP immediately if you experience any of the following effects:

  • unexpected, rapid weight gain
  • shortness of breath
  • severe pelvic pain
  • severe abdominal or stomach pain
  • moderate to severe bloating
  • feeling of indigestion
  • decreased amount of urine production
  • continual or severe nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea

The side effects listed above that are reported by people taking chorionic gonadotropin is not all-inclusive. If you do not see an improvement in your condition, or if you think that your health is actually getting worse since you started your course of treatment, ask your medical professional for advice.

Dosage

The dose of chorionic gonadotropin that you are prescribed will vary between different patients, depending on the sex of the patient and the condition that is being treated. The dosage levels given below only reflect the average recommended dose for this drug.

You will usually be given this drug by a medical professional in a clinic or hospital setting. The drug is administered via injection into a muscle. However, in some cases, you may be shown how to self-administer the medicine so that you can do so at home. Your doctor or nurse will show you how to prepare and administer the injection correctly and safely. You will also be given instructions on safe storage of the drug and on safe needle disposal.

Before using the drug, inspect the liquid to make sure that it does not contain any floating particles or discoloration. If it does, do not use the medication; ask your GP or pharmacist for a fresh supply.

The dose that you are prescribed will depend on the condition you are being treated for, your age, sex, weight, and on how well your body is responding to treatment. Do not change the dose you have been prescribed in any way, including the frequency of the injections or the time that you have been told to leave between each one.

In boys, you should use chorionic gonadotropin as directed by your GP, usually thrice weekly. Women usually take one dose of chorionic gonadotropin, following the conclusion of treatment with menotropins.

For this medication to work properly, you must use it regularly at evenly spaced intervals. Use a calendar to mark the day or days on which you need to take your doses.

For the treatment of boys and men with low hormone levels:

You will usually be prescribed this drug for a period of a period of time in excess of a few weeks. If your treatment is designed to increase your sperm count and you have been taking chorionic gonadotropin for six months or more, your GP may administer another hormone drug, usually urofollitropin or menotropins by injection. For the treatment to be fully effective, you may need to take this drug combination for up to a year.

Adults: Inject 1000 to 4000 units of chorionic gonadotropin into a muscle, twice or thrice weekly.

For the treatment of women to increase chances of conception:

Adults: Inject 5000 to 10,000 units into a muscle on a day as directed by your treating physician. The day and dose of medication will depend on what other drugs you have been taking and on your hormone levels.

For treating cryptorchidism in children:

Children: Inject 1000 to 5000 units into a muscle, twice or thrice weekly, not exceeding 10 doses.

Major drug interactions

It is not advisable to use some medications together, as an interaction may occur. However, there are some occasions when your GP may decide that it is necessary for the best treatment outcome to use two or more drugs in combination.

There are no major drug interactions noted with chorionic gonadotropin.

Warnings

In addition to telling your GP about any allergies you have and listing any other drugs that you are taking, you should also mention to your doctor any existing or historical health conditions that you have suffered from. Before you decide to undergo a course of treatment with this medication, you should weigh up the risks and benefits. Your treating physician will discuss the pros and cons of using chorionic gonadotropin with you to help you to decide whether to proceed with treatment.

If you have a history of any of the following conditions, you should use chorionic gonadotropin with caution, as it could make these problems worse:

  • asthma
  • epilepsy (seizures)
  • heart problems
  • kidney problems
  • migraine headaches

Increased levels of testosterone in the body can make the following conditions worse, so chorionic gonadotropin should be used with extreme caution in men or boys with these conditions:

  • prostate cancer
    precocious puberty

In women who have a history of ovarian cysts or uterine fibroid tumors, chorionic gonadotropin should not be used as it can cause further growth of cysts and tumors.

Patients who suffer from unusual or irregular vaginal bleeding should be checked for conditions such as endometrial cancer, endometrial overgrowth, and other hormonal imbalances. The increased estrogen production that can be stimulated through the use of chorionic gonadotropin can aggravate these problems. Any hormone imbalances should be treated before commencing fertility treatments and ovulation induction.

When treating cryptorchidism, (a childhood birth defect where the testes are withheld inside the child's body and fail to descend normally), chorionic gonadotropin can sometimes cause the genitals of some male children to develop too rapidly.

Chorionic gonadotropin should never be used in women who are already pregnant. Using this drug during pregnancy can cause serious fetal abnormalities. If you think that you may have become pregnant during the course of your treatment with chorionic gonadotropin, you must tell your doctor immediately.

If you are currently breastfeeding, there is no evidence to show that chorionic gonadotropin can pass into breast milk. However, it may be advisable to explore alternative feeding arrangements for your infant until your course of treatment with chorionic gonadotropin has finished.

You must attend your doctor regularly to check that the medication is working correctly and to discuss any unwanted side effects.

If you are taking this medicine in an attempt to become pregnant, you must follow your doctor's instructions regarding recording your daily temperature. This is necessary in order to know if you have begun to ovulate. In order to give you the best chance of conception, you should have intercourse at the time of ovulation. Your treating specialist will also want to measure the development of your ovarian follicles. This is done by measuring the levels of estrogen in your blood and by carrying out ultrasound scans.

Storage

If you are self-administering chorionic gonadotropin or giving the injections to your child, you should keep the medication in a sealed container and at room temperature.

Do not keep the drug in the fridge or freezer. Do not put the medicine in direct sunlight or close to heat sources.

Keep your supply of chorionic gonadotropin out of reach of children and pets. Seek veterinary advice immediately if a pet eats your medication.

Do not keep any leftover chorionic gonadotropin. Discard any out-of-date medication or any that appears cloudy or has particles floating in it.

Do not put chorionic gonadotropin into your toilet or pour it down the drain. Do not throw any unused medication out with your garbage, where it could present a danger to small children and pets.

Keep needles and syringes out of reach of children. Ask your doctor or nurse for a special sharps bin in which to dispose of your used needles. When full, the bin must be returned to your doctor's surgery for safe disposal of the contents.

Summary

Chorionic gonadotropin is a synthetic drug that is used to treat infertility in women. It is usually used when other forms of fertility medication have failed to work. The medication is also used to boost hormone levels in men, sometimes to increase sperm production and aid fertility. In boys whose testes have not descended or who are late developers', chorionic gonadotropin can be used to trigger puberty and sexual development.

The drug is administered by injection, usually by a trained medical professional. However, in some cases, it may be appropriate for you to administer the drug yourself at home. In this case, you will be given full instructions on how to safely carry out the injections and on correct storage and disposal of the medication, needles, and syringes.

There are many existing and historical health conditions that can affect the use of this drug. Be sure to discuss your medical history fully with your GP before you begin treatment with chorionic gonadotropin. You will need to attend your doctor for regular blood tests to allow for the levels of hormones in your body to be monitored and to check that the drug is working as it should be.