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Is Letrozole a safe drug for treating infertility?

Q: I am a 29 years old female who has been trying to conceive for the last 10 months. I have irregular periods and taking ovulation induced drug (Letrozole 2.5 mg) for the past 10 months. Is Letrizole a safe drug for treating infertility?

A:I presume tests on male partner have been conducted and they are all normal. One should keep in mind that in 3 out of 10 cases of "infertility" there is problem in male partner. I also presume that you are not suffering from PCOS, thyroid disorder, endmetriosis, tubal and uterine anomalies. In couples (females under 34 years) with no disorder, the conception rate after 12 months of sexual activity is 84%. However an additional 8% take 2 years to conceive. Therefore there is no need for you to worry unless there is ovulatory problem. If at all there is ovulatory problem then it is dangerous to take letrozole. Except for India, letrozole is not legally permitted to be used for ovulation. Letrozole (sold under various brand names in India such as Letroz, Letoval etc.) is internationally approved for the treatment of breast cancer in post-menopausal women only.

Letrozole is contraindicated (not permitted) in young pre-menopausal women.

Both, the Canadian drug regulator and the innovator company Novartis, have warned gynaecologists all over the world not to misuse it for female infertility.

Research on 150 pregnancies has shown that babies born to mothers who had consumed letrozole to increase fertility have suffered from bone malformations, cardiac stenosis and cancers.


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