Follitropin Alfa (Subcutaneous)

Overview

When couples are struggling to conceive, they may be given various types of fertility treatments. Prior to this, both patients should be fully examined and assessed in order to determine whether there is a specific issue which is preventing conception from occurring. Depending on the results of these assessments, physicians can determine what type of treatment is likely to be most successful for the patients.

If female patients are unable to produce eggs regularly, they may be treated with Follitropin Alfa. Typically, the pituatry gland releases follicle stimulating hormone (FSH), which helps eggs to develop and mature in the ovaries. If FSH isn't produced or if it is only produced in small amounts, the patient may not produce an egg or ovulate successfully.

By administering Follitropin Alfa, physicians can replicate FSH in the patient's system and ensure that ovulation takes place successfully. If the patient has been unable to become pregnant due to problems ovulating, this treatment can be successful in enabling the patient to fall pregnant. If other factors have prevented the patient from becoming pregnant as well, Follitropin Alfa may be used in conjunction with other medicines.

As well as being prescribed to female patients, Follitropin Alfa may be used to treat male patients who have a low sperm count. Although patients with a low sperm count could still father a child, the chance is reduced. By prescribing Follitropin Alfa, however, physicians can increase the amount of sperm produced by the patient and, therefore, increase the chance of the patient fathering a child.

Before Follitropin Alfa is administered to patients with a low sperm count, human chorionic gonadotropin may also need to be used. This increases the patient's testosterone levels and should increase the effectiveness of Follitropin Alfa. As well as being used prior to Follitropin Alfa, human chorionic gonadotropin should be used whilst the patient is being treated with Follitropin Alfa so that their testosterone is elevated to a normal amount.

In some cases, patients may be treated with gonadotropin-releasing hormone agonist (GnRHa) before being treated with Follitropin Alfa. Although GnRHa reduces the amount of FSH released from the pituitary gland, doctors are then able to mimic FSH by using Follitropin Alfa. Prescribing GnRHa to reduce the levels of naturally occurring FSH in the patient's system ensures that doctors are able to have full control over the patient's FSH levels. Suppressing the body's natural production of FSH and using Follitropin Alfa to mimic the effects of FSH enables physicians to create the most hospitable environment for conception and can increase the success of fertility treatments.

When receiving fertility treatment, the patient's exact course of treatment will depend on any health problems which have been identified. However, Follitropin Alfa can be used to treat both male and female patients and is, therefore, a commonly used medication. In addition to this, the fact that Follitropin Alfa can be used in isolation or alongside other medicines means that it is often used during fertility treatments, particularly if patients are undergoing in vitro fertilization and/or embryo transfer.

Conditions Treated

Type Of Medicine

  • Hormone treatment

Side Effects

When patients are treated with any type of medicine, they may develop some side effects. However, it is not uncommon for hormone treatments, such as Follitropin Alfa, to cause side effects in some patients. Prior to treatment, patients should discuss this with their physician so that they are aware of what to expect.

If certain side effects are fairly mild, patients may not require medical intervention. If patients are being treated for com/health/male-infertility/">female infertility and experience the following adverse effects, for example, they may not need additional medical assistance:

Similarly, if patients are given Follitropin Alfa following treatment with GnRHa and during the use of assisted reproductive technology, the following side effects may occur:

  • Racing, fast heartbeat
  • Loss of appetite
  • Itching of the skin
  • Thirst (unusual)

In addition to this, both patients being treated with or without GnRHa may notice the following side effects during treatment with Follitropin Alfa:

  • Painful menstrual periods
  • Dizziness
  • Swelling, pain or redness at injection site
  • Vaginal bleeding unrelated to menstrual periods (heavy)
  • Sleepiness
  • White vaginal discharge

Although patients may not require medical assistance for the side effects listed above, patients should always seek medical help if they are concerned about the presence of any adverse effects.

In addition to this, patients will need to obtain medical advice if they experience any of the following side effects whilst being treated with Follitropin Alfa.

  • Abdominal bloating
  • Nausea
  • Diarrhea
  • Cold or flu-like symptoms, such as body pain or aches, fever, coughing, headache, runny nose, loss of voice and unusual weakness or tiredness
  • Passing of gas
  • Mood swings
  • Breast tenderness or pain
  • Acne
  • Vaginal bleeding between menstrual periods

Similarly, patients should obtain medical advice if they experience any side effects which are not listed above.

Dosage

When patients are prescribed Follitropin Alfa, their dose will depend on their condition, medical history, age, weight and any other medicines they are currently taking. Although doctors will always give the patient specific dosage instructions, there are some standard treatment regimes using Follitropin Alfa.

If female patients are being treated for infertility, for example, they may be prescribed 75 international units, to be injected under the skin on a daily basis. Generally, patients will receive this dose of medicine every day for a period of fourteen days. In some cases, Follitropin Alfa may be prescribed for longer than fourteen days and the patient's dose can be increased by 37.5 international units on a weekly basis. However, a maximum dose of 300 international units is never normally exceeded. Patients should notify their physician on their last day of treatment with Follitropin Alfa as they may be given a human chorionic gonadotropin (HCG) injection 24 hours later.

Alternatively, Follitropin Alfa may be prescribed in higher doses if it is being used alongside assisted reproductive technology. In such cases, patients may be given 150 international units of Follitropin Alfa on a daily basis, for a period of five days. This treatment should start on day two or day three of the patient's menstrual cycle. Following this, the patient's dose can be increased by 75-150 international units for a further five days, although patients are not normally given more than 450 international units of Follitropin Alfa on a daily basis. After treatment with Follitropin Alfa, patients may be given a HCG injection.

If male patients are treated for infertility or a low sperm count, they are generally prescribed 150 international units of Follitropin Alfa, to be administered three times per week. In most cases, patients will also be given 1000 USP units of HCG three times per week. If necessary, the patient's dose of Follitropin Alfa can be increased to 300 international units of Follitropin Alfa three times per week and treatment may continue for a period of eighteen months, if it is necessary.

As Follitropin Alfa is administered via a subcutaneous injection, patients will either need to attend a clinic or visit their physician's office in order to receive their medication. In some cases, however, patients can learn how to administer the Follitropin Alfa injection and will not need to visit a healthcare professional in order to have the medicine administered.

If patients are administering Follitropin Alfa at home, they should ensure that they know how to prepare the syringe and the medication. In addition to this, patients should have a safe disposal method for medical waste, such as syringes and needles.

If patients are unsure how to use Follitropin Alfa or don't feel confident in administering the medication, they should seek advice from their physician or pharmacist.

When using Follitropin Alfa, it's important that patients adhere to the treatment instructions set out for them by their doctor. If they forget to administer a dose of Follitropin Alfa, patients should contact their physician for advice.

Potential Drug Interactions:

As medications can sometimes interact with one another, patients should tell their doctor if they are taking any other medicines, before they start using Follitropin Alfa. Similarly, patients will need to obtain medical advice before they use over-the-counter medicines, vitamins and/or supplements when they are being treated with Follitropin Alfa.

Warnings

Before beginning treatment with Follitropin Alfa, patients should discuss their medical history and current condition with their physician. There may be some medical conditions which affect the use of Follitropin Alfa so it's vital that patients inform their doctor if they have been diagnosed with any of the following:

  • Primary ovarian failure
  • Primary testicular failure
  • Abnormal bleeding of uterus and/or genitals
  • Asthma
  • Adrenal gland disease
  • Thyroid gland disease
  • Sex hormone-dependent tumor
  • Brain tumor
  • Stroke
  • Heart disease
  • Blood clots
  • Enlarged ovaries
  • Ovarian cyst

When patients are being treated with Follitropin Alfa, they should be monitored regularly. Physicians will want to ensure that the Follitropin Alfa is having a positive effect on the patient and that it isn't causing any harm. When treatment with Follitropin Alfa has been discontinued, patients will still need to be monitored for at least two weeks.

When using Follitropin Alfa, patients may be advised to record their basal body temperature on a daily basis. If so, their physician will advise them how to take this temperature accurately and how to record it. Based on this information, the patient's physician will be able to determine when the patient is most fertile and when conception is most likely to occur.

If patients experience abdominal pains whilst using Follitropin Alfa, they should discontinue treatment and contact their physician immediately for advice. Patients should not receive the HCG injection and should not engage in sexual intercourse until they have been assessed by a doctor.

In some cases, Follitropin Alfa can cause patients to experience dizziness. Due to this, patients should not drive, operate heavy machinery or carry out tasks which require their full attention until they know how the medicine affects them. Dizziness may continue whilst patients are using Follitropin Alfa and for 24 hours after treatment has been discontinued.

Patients who use Follitropin Alfa may be more likely to have multiple births. If this is a potential concern, patients should discuss this with their physician before they begin using Follitropin Alfa.

Although Follitropin Alfa is used to increase fertility, it should not be taken by pregnant patients. Once patients become pregnant, they should stop using Follitropin Alfa immediately and should contact their physician for advice. If taken when pregnant, Follitropin Alfa could cause harm to the unborn fetus.

Currently, it is not known if Follitropin Alfa can be passed from a patient to an infant via breastfeeding and, if so, what type of harm it could cause to the child. Due to this, patients should seek medical advice before breastfeeding if they are being treated with Follitropin Alfa. In addition to this, patients should seek medical advice before breastfeeding if they have been treated with Follitropin Alfa recently, as the medicine may still be in their system.

Before using Follitropin Alfa, patients should notify their physician of any allergies or intolerances they have. This includes allergies to medicines, foods, animals, preservatives and/or dyes. If patients experience an allergic reaction when using Follitropin Alfa, they will require emergency medical treatment. Allergic reactions sometimes include the following symptoms:

  • Wheezing
  • Itching
  • Trouble swallowing
  • Trouble breathing
  • Hives
  • Hoarseness
  • Swelling of the face, lips, mouth, throat, tongue and/or hands

Storage

If patients plan to attend a clinic or their physician's office in order to have Follitropin Alfa administered via injection, they will not need to store or prepare the medication at home. However, if patients are planning to administer their own injection, they will need to keep Follitropin Alfa in a safe place within their home.

When keeping medicine at home, it's vital that children and/or pets cannot gain access to it. Similarly, children and/or pets should not be able to access the needles, syringes and other medical paraphernalia required to administer Follitropin Alfa.

If patients are planning to store Follitropin Alfa at home, they should follow the manufacturer's guidelines to ensure that the medicine is kept in optimum condition. Whilst Follitropin Alfa can sometimes be stored at room temperature, some forms of the medicine are best kept at a refrigerated temperature. Follitropin Alfa will also need to be kept away from direct light, moisture and/or heat so should not be kept in a bathroom and/or kitchen.

If patients are advised to stop using Follitropin Alfa or if they have too much medicine, they should dispose of it safely. However, medications, needles and/or syringes should not be discarded with normal household waste as they could cause harm to other people. Instead, patients should contact their physician's office, clinic or pharmacist to access a safe method of disposal.

Summary

When individuals face fertility issues, there can be various reasons why they are unable to conceive. Once the problem has been identified, however, there are often a number of treatments which can be used to assist with reproduction.

If female patients are unable to ovulate effectively, for example, Follitropin Alfa can be used in place of a follicle stimulating hormone to ensure that eggs develop fully. Similarly, Follitropin Alfa can be used to increase levels of FSH when patients are undergoing assisted reproductive technology procedures.

As well as being used to treat female patients, Follitropin Alfa can be used to successfully treat male infertility too. If couples are unable to conceive due to the male's low sperm count, Follitropin Alfa can be used alongside HCG to significantly increase the patient's sperm count.

Due to its variety of uses, Follitropin Alfa is commonly prescribed to patients who are attempting to conceive. Whether it is prescribed alone or in conjunction with other medicines, Follitropin Alfa is usually extremely effective in treating patients and enabling them to reproduce.