Definition - What does Follitropin Alfa mean?
Follitropin alfa is a medicine that has the same impact as follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH), which is normally produced by the pituitary gland and is used to stimulate the production of eggs in women. Follitropin alfa in combination with human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG) can be used in egg retrieval procedures for in vitro fertilization (IVF) or as part of other assisted reproduction procedures. It can also treat male patients with infertility due to a low sperm count.
Follitropin Alfa may also be known as the brand name Gonal-F.
FertilitySmarts explains Follitropin Alfa
Follitropin alfa is given daily as an injection beneath the skin and can be given up to 35 days depending on the response. The majority of patients who receive the injection usually show a favorable response within the first 10-14 days. The dose of the injection is decided by several factors such as the sex of the patient, the level of naturally producing sex hormones in the body, and the level of maturation of the egg/sperm as seen on ultrasound or semen analysis.
The medicine can be administered at home by the patient. It comes in a vial that should be refrigerated to prevent it from losing its efficacy.
The drug may not be helpful if there are any abnormalities in the ovaries or testes that have lost their function and thus do not respond to FSH.
Common side effects of Follitropin alfa include:
- Vaginal bleeding
- Abdominal discomfort (pain, bloating, nausea, diarrhea)
- Breast pain
Mild symptoms usually fade away with time but if symptoms are severe, discontinuation of treatment and seeking urgent medical advice is recommended.