Gonal-f Side Effects

Generic Name: follicle stimulating hormone

Note: This page contains information about the side effects of follicle stimulating hormone. Some of the dosage forms included on this document may not apply to the brand name Gonal-f.

Not all side effects for Gonal-f may be reported. You should always consult a doctor or healthcare professional for medical advice. Side effects can be reported to the FDA here.

For the Consumer

Applies to follicle stimulating hormone: subcutaneous kit, subcutaneous powder for solution, subcutaneous solution

In addition to its needed effects, some unwanted effects may be caused by follicle stimulating hormone (the active ingredient contained in Gonal-f). In the event that any of these side effects do occur, they may require medical attention.

You should check with your doctor immediately if any of these side effects occur when taking follicle stimulating hormone:

More common
  • Abdominal or stomach pain that is severe
  • bloating
  • diarrhea
  • severe nausea or vomiting
  • stomach or pelvic discomfort, aching, or heaviness
  • weight gain that is rapid
Less common
  • Heavy non-menstrual vaginal bleeding
  • redness, pain, or swelling at the injection site
  • unusual tiredness or weakness
Incidence not known
  • Difficulty with breathing
  • pain in the chest, groin, or legs, especially the calves
  • severe, sudden headache
  • slurred speech
  • sudden loss of coordination
  • sudden, severe weakness or numbness in the arm or leg
  • sudden, unexplained shortness of breath
  • vision changes

Some of the side effects that can occur with follicle stimulating hormone may not need medical attention. As your body adjusts to the medicine during treatment these side effects may go away. Your health care professional may also be able to tell you about ways to reduce or prevent some of these side effects. If any of the following side effects continue, are bothersome or if you have any questions about them, check with your health care professional:

More common
  • Blemishes on the skin
  • headache
  • pimples
Less common
  • Body aches or pain
  • chills
  • difficulty having a bowel movement (stool)
  • dizziness
  • dry skin
  • fast or racing heart
  • fever
  • hair loss
  • hives
  • quick or shallow breathing
  • rash
  • swelling of the breasts or breast soreness in both females and males
Incidence not known
  • Breast tenderness
  • normal menstrual bleeding occurring earlier, possibly lasting longer than expected

For Healthcare Professionals

Applies to follicle stimulating hormone: injectable powder for injection, injectable solution, subcutaneous powder for injection, subcutaneous solution


Mild to moderate uncomplicated ovarian enlargement has been reported to generally regress without treatment within two or three weeks.

Severe OHSS may progress over one to several days to become a serious medical event. Severe OHSS is characterized by an apparent dramatic increase in vascular permeability which can result in a rapid accumulation of fluid in the peritoneal cavity, thorax, and potentially the pericardium. Early warning signs include severe pelvic pain, nausea, vomiting, and weight gain. Cases of OHSS may include abdominal pain, abdominal distension, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, severe ovarian enlargement, weight gain, dyspnea, and oliguria. Clinical evaluation may reveal hypovolemia, hemoconcentration, electrolyte imbalances, ascites, hemoperitoneum, pleural effusions, hydrothorax, acute pulmonary distress, and thromboembolic events. Transient liver function test abnormalities have also been associated with OHSS.

Genitourinary side effects have included mild to moderate ovarian enlargement sometimes accompanied by abdominal distention and/or abdominal pain, severe ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome (OHSS), miscarriage, ectopic pregnancy and ovarian cysts. Other genitourinary side effects have included intermenstrual bleeding, dysmenorrhea, breast tenderness, urinary tract infection, vaginal hemorrhage and moniliasis genital.


Other respiratory tract side effects have included sinusitis, pharyngitis, coughing, rhinitis, dyspnea, tachypnea and upper respiratory tract infection.

Respiratory effects have included atelectasis, pulmonary embolism, pulmonary infarction, and acute respiratory distress syndrome. In rare cases, pulmonary complications have resulted in death.


Cardiovascular effects have included venous thrombophlebitis, cerebral vascular occlusion (stroke), and arterial occlusion resulting in loss of limb. In rare cases, thromboembolic events have resulted in death.

Other cardiovascular side effects have included chest pain, palpitations, and tachycardia.


Other side effects have included febrile reactions and flu-like symptoms which included fever, chills, musculoskeletal aches, joint pains, malaise, headache, and fatigue.

It is not clear whether the febrile reactions were pyrogenic responses or possible allergic reactions.


Gastrointestinal effects have included anorexia, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain, flatulence, and dyspepsia.


Local side effects have included pain, rash, swelling, and/or irritation at the site of injection.


Dermatologic side effects have included dry skin, body rash, hair loss, acne, pruritus and hives.


Psychiatric side effects have included emotional liability.


Metabolic side effects have included weight gain.

Nervous system

Nervous system side effects have included headache, paresthesias somnolence, anxiety and dizziness.


Musculoskeletal side effects have included myalgia, back pain and joint pains.

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