UnBoxing my IVF Meds

My IVF medications arrived and boy was I excited! I knew there was going to be quite a bit of product, but I was not expecting the boxes they came in to be so HUGE!

Here is what I received:

Estradiol
Chorionic Gonadotropin (HCG – also known as the trigger shot)
Menopur
Ganirelix Acetate
MethylPREDNIsolone
Gonal F
Progesterone supositories
Syringes
Needles

It was a bit overwhelming to receive such a large number of prescriptions all at once! I don’t know about you, but I had to read up on each little pill and injectable to understand what each one was for. So here’s a little cheat sheet for you ladies.

The intended uses for each prescribed drug are as follows:

Gonal F – fertility drug which mimic the hormone FSH in your body. FSH is the hormone which tells the oocytes in your ovaries to grow and mature. These drugs are taken via injection, which you do yourself, and may be used during IVF or IUI treatment, or with timed sexual intercourse at home. Follistim is a similar drug.

Menopur – Used as part of assisted reproductive technology (ART) program. It is a combination of the FSH and Leutinizing Hormone and comes in powder form. It works by stimulating the ovaries to produce eggs. Human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG) is then given to cause ovulation (release of an egg).

Ganirelix Acetate – This is a gonadotropin-releasing hormone antagonist that is administered, like Lupron, subcutaneously. It is used to prevent ovulation, but are only started after gonadotropin therapy has already begun. Your individualized protocol from your reproductive endocrinologist (RE) will inform you when to start these medications.

Chorionic Gonadotropin – hCG is used in an ART cycle to mimic the normal mid-cycle LH surge, which is necessary to facilitate the final maturation process of the egg. The timing between administering hCG and retrieving your egg is carefully planned so you do not ovulate before your RE collects your eggs. Your egg retrieval is done before you ovulate your eggs. Your clinical staff will instruct you on both the date and time you are to take your hCG.

MethylPREDIsolone – is a synthetic glucocorticoid or corticosteroid drug. It is marketed in the USA and Canada under the brand names Medrol and Solu-Medrolis and is typically used for its anti-inflammatory effects. After egg retrieval for a cycle of in vitro fertilization, methylprednisolone may be prescribed to prevent the body from rejecting the embryos being transferred, up to the time of implantation.

Estradiol – is a female sex hormone produced by the ovaries, adrenal gland and also the placenta during pregnancy. Estradiol is the most important hormone during a female’s reproductive years, and is required for reproductive and sexual function as well as having an impact on the health of other organs and tissues. Estradiol also enhances growth of the womb’s muscle layer, the myometrium. In addition, the hormone maintains oocytes (eggs in the ovary) and triggers a series of events that lead to ovulation.

Progesterone – Progesterone (P4) is a steroid hormone that is normally produced by the corpus luteum (that portion of an egg follicle that remains on the ovary after ovulation). Progesterone is important in transforming the uterine lining from one that is growing into one that is preparing for embryo implantation. Progesterone is administered by vaginal suppository or intramuscular injection each night, starting the night of your oocyte retrieval and continuing until your first pregnancy test, approximately two weeks after your egg retrieval. If pregnant, you must continue progesterone support.

My Progesterone suppositories arrived separately the following day so unfortunately did not make a cameo in the accompanying video.

Ok, now that my IVF meds rant is over, What medications did you receive in YOUR box of IVF goodies? I would love to hear about it!

Other interesting prescription drug references:

http://www.drugs.com
http://www.rxlist.com/script/main/hp.asp
http://www.news-medical.net/health/What-does-Estradiol-do.aspx
http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/druginfo/meds/a682795.html
http://ivfspecialists.com/patient-resources/glossary/medication-descriptions/

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