Aromatase inhibition reduces gonadotrophin dose required for controlled ovarian stimulation in women with unexplained infertility.Hum Reprod. 2003 Aug; 18(8):1588-97.HR
Adding clomiphene citrate (CC) to FSH for controlled ovarian stimulation (COS) decreases FSH dose required for optimum stimulation. However, because of its anti-estrogenic effects, CC may be associated with lower pregnancy rates offsetting the FSH-dose reduction benefit. Previously, we reported the success of aromatase inhibition in inducing ovulation without antiestrogenic effects.
A prospective pilot study that included women with unexplained infertility undergoing COS and intrauterine insemination. Thirty-six women received the aromatase inhibitor letrozole + FSH, 18 women received CC + FSH and 56 women received FSH only. Each woman received one treatment regimen in one treatment cycle. All patients were given recombinant or highly purified FSH (50-150 IU/day) starting on day 3 to 7 until day of hCG.
The FSH dose needed was significantly lower in letrozole + FSH and CC + FSH groups compared with FSH-only without a difference in number of follicles >1.8 cm. Pregnancy rate was 19.1% in the letrozole + FSH group, 10.5% in the CC + FSH group and 18.7% in the FSH-only group. Both pregnancy rate and endometrial thickness were significantly lower in CC + FSH group compared with the other two groups. Estradiol (E2) levels were significantly lower in the letrozole + FSH group compared with the other two groups.
Similar to CC, aromatase inhibition with letrozole reduces FSH dose required for COS without the undesirable antiestrogenic effects sometimes seen with CC.