However one of the most common fertility medicines on the NHS
is clomifene, a medicine that encourages the monthly release
of an egg in women who don’t ovulate regularly or who can’t
Clomifene (which is often referred to by the brand name
Clomid) is usually prescribed to women who have polycystic
ovary syndrome (PCOS).
Using the fertility drug can also result in a greater chance
of having twins.
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How common is it for women to use clomid?
Dr Nargund told HuffPost UK: “It is used in women with PCOS
to induce ovulation and in those where ovulation is irregular
to regularise ovulation.
“It is commonly used as an effective first-line treatment for
ovulation induction and is widely available on NHS.
“However, it should be prescribed by a fertility specialist
(not by a GP) after pre-treatment counselling and tests in
order to ensure that the dosage is tailored to achieve
successful outcome and avoid risks.”
The most recent NICE guidelines suggest that Clomid should
not be given to women with unexplained infertility as there
is no evidence to suggest it increases pregnancy rates.
How does it work?
Women take one oral tablet daily (typically 50mg) for five
consecutive days at the beginning of their cycle.
“Clomid is an anti-oestrogen,” explained Dr Nargund. “It
stimulates the pituitary gland to release hormones needed to
Dr Clugston said it tricks the body into thinking that there
is not enough oestrogen which sends a signal to the pituitary
gland to secrete more follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH).
“This promotes the growth of follicles and the development of
a usually a single dominant follicle that contains a mature
egg which is released at ovulation,” she said.”
Are there any side effects of clomid?
Clomid is generally “very well tolerated” explained Nargund.
“Mood swings are the most common side effect,” she said.
“Visual disturbances and hot flushes are rare side
effects. Other rare side effects include pelvic
discomfort, breast tenderness and nausea.”
Ovarian Hyperstimulation Syndrome (OHSS)
is a rare side effect that can result from an “over-response”
to Clomid – this is a “rare but serious condition”.
You should seek medical advice if these symptoms persist or
What’s the success rate?
“The main aim of Clomid is to restore ovulation and it will
do so in around 70-80% of women who take it,” said Dr
Clugston. “Once ovulating, these women have a chance of
pregnancy, which is roughly 20% per cycle.
“Clomid is generally well tolerated by most women but it can
have some negative effects on cervical mucus and on the
endometrium, which may have an impact success rates. However,
for women who are not ovulating naturally the benefit of
ovulating outweighs these changes.”
Women should talk to their GP regarding fertility treatment
options. For more information on Clomid, visit the NHS Choices website.