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Using Bromocriptine/Parlodel To Treat Fertility

Bromocriptine (aka Parlodel)Many women who are experiencing infertility can blame their hormones for their problems. Hormonal imbalances can be what cause a great percentage of women to have difficulty in producing eggs or ovulating, for example. This is why many doctors turn to fertility drugs (created with hormones) to help treat these women—and why fertility drugs are often quite successful in helping many women to become pregnant.

One such fertility drug is called bromocriptine. The brand name of this medication is Parlodel. This drug is used in women who have an imbalance in their levels of the hormone prolactin.

This hormone is primarily associated with lactation—the act of producing breast milk for a baby after birth. But, that is not its only effect. It also contributes to the development of the fetus. And, prolactin is also partly responsible for sexual gratification. So, it is an important hormone to have in balance.

Some women have unusually high levels of prolactin; this can cause ovulation to stop. The extra prolactin keeps the woman’s body from releasing the necessary follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH). The FSH is essential to ovulation because it is what helps to mature the egg follicles.

So, if a woman’s prolactin levels are too high, her doctor will likely prescribe bromocriptine. This fertility drug comes in two forms—pill form and vaginal pill form. There is no standard dosage, although many women take the pills 2 or 3 times daily. But, a woman may have to try different dosages and remain on the medication for a few months before her prolactin levels begin to come down. Each woman’s body chemistry is different, after all, so it may take some experimentation to find the right dosage.

Once this fertility drug begins to regulate a woman’s prolactin levels, she will begin to menstruate and ovulate again. At this point, the woman and her mate can try to conceive naturally (unless there are other fertility issues, of course).

It is considered safe to remain on bromocriptine for several years, if desired. But, many doctors advise that further treatment options be considered if pregnancy is not achieved after a year of having normal prolactin levels.

This fertility drug, like any other, does have some side effects. One of the most important may be that it can cause low blood pressure. This may not be a problem for some people, but it can cause dizziness or other symptoms, especially when a person gets up quickly from a sitting or laying position. So, it is wise to take care to stand up slowly and use caution when on bromocriptine.

There are a few other side effects, but these are mild and generally not very common. These include headaches; nausea, vomiting, or abdominal cramps; diarrhea or constipation; and nasal stuffiness. It should be noted, however, that most fertility drug have side affects like these.

Women should make sure to talk to their doctor about possible drug interactions before taking bromocriptine because there are a few medications that can cause some serious problems if taken with this fertility drug. These include erythromycin, terbutaline, albuterol, and phenylpropanolamine (a decongestant used in many cough, cold, allergy, and diet drugs that are usually purchased over-the-counter at drugstores and other stores selling medications).

Bromocriptine may not be the right fertility drug for all women, but it is quite helpful for many. Between 65% to 85% of women who take this medication become pregnant. So, as long as there are women who have the prolactin hormonal imbalance, it is likely that doctors will continue to prescribe this drug so that they can help those women conquer their infertility.

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