Researchers identify more effective treatment for infertility condition

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A medication for breast cancer patients who’ve gone through menopause might also help women who have a particular infertility disorder to have a baby, a new study indicates.

Researchers found that letrozole, which is a treatment for breast cancer, is more effective at increasing the pregnancy rate for women who have polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) than is the standard treatment, according to a study that was published in New England Journal of Medicine.

Researchers enrolled 750 infertile women who were ages 18–40 and who had PCOS. Of the 374 women who received letrozole, 103 (27.5 percent) eventually had a live birth. Of the 376 women who received clomiphene, which is the standard treatment for PCOS, 72 (19.1 percent) eventually had a live birth.

In addition, women who took letrozole were more likely to ovulate than women who took clomiphene. Ovulation occurred 61.7 percent of the time in the letrozole group, compared with 48.3 percent in the clomiphene group.

Women who were treated with letrozole had fewer hot flashes but more dizziness and fatigue than those who were treated with clomiphene.

Symptoms of PCOS include irregular menstrual cycles, infertility and resistance to insulin.