Susan E. Lindt, StaffIntelligencer Journal
Published: Feb 08, 2007 1:21 AM EST
HERSHEY, Pa. -
A new study suggests the drug most often prescribed to treat a cause of female infertility isn't the best one for the job.
The good news is a more effective drug already is on the market, researchers say.
Hershey Medical Center researchers studied two medications used to treat women unable to conceive because of polycystic ovary syndrome. The four-year study simply attempted to determine which drug works better, or if a combination of both is most effective.
The answer is revealed in an article published today in The New England Journal of Medicine: metformin, the drug most often prescribed, was less effective, with only 15 of 208 women in the study, or 7.2 percent, conceiving and giving birth.
Another drug, clomiphene, was more effective, with 22.5 percent, or 47 of 209 women, giving birth.
A combination of both drugs was most effective, with 26.8 percent giving birth, but the slight difference between the combination and clomiphene-only groups was considered statistically insignificant.
The study's outcome surprised researchers, who say the health care industry has accepted metformin as the more effective of the two drugs.
"I was shocked to see the data," said Hershey Medical Center physician and researcher Richard S. Legro, who directed the study and is primary author of the New England Journal article. "We definitely know (clomiphene) works. This was a down-and-out group of women who had tried everything.
"I think (clomiphene) is as good as it gets. It's a rousing success."
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