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Follicle stimulating hormone

Generic Name: follicle stimulating hormone (FOL ik al STIM ue lay ting HOR mone)
Brand Name: Follistim AQ Cartridge, Gonal-F, Gonal-f RFF, ...show all 11 brand names

Medically reviewed by Drugs.com on Feb 14, 2019 – Written by Cerner Multum

What is follicle stimulating hormone?

Follicle stimulating hormone is used to treat infertility in women who cannot ovulate. follicle stimulating hormone is not effective in women with primary ovarian failure (when the ovaries are unable to produce an egg).

Follicle stimulating hormone is also used in men to stimulate sperm production. This medicine is not effective in men with primary testicular failure (when the testicles are unable to produce sperm).

Follicle stimulating hormone is often used together with another medication called human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG).

Follicle stimulating hormone may also be used for purposes not listed in this medication guide.

Important Information

You should not use this medicine if you have an untreated or uncontrolled endocrine disorder (thyroid, pituitary gland, or adrenal gland), heavy or abnormal vaginal bleeding that has not been checked by a doctor, an ovarian cyst, or cancer of the breast, ovary, uterus, testicle, hypothalamus, or pituitary gland.

Do not use this medicine if you are pregnant. You may need to have a negative pregnancy test before starting this treatment.

Before taking this medicine

Your doctor will perform blood tests to make sure you do not have conditions that would prevent you from safely using follicle stimulating hormone.

You should not use follicle stimulating hormone if you are allergic to it, or if you have:

  • an untreated or uncontrolled disorder of the thyroid, pituitary gland, or adrenal glands;

  • heavy or abnormal vaginal bleeding that has not been checked by a doctor;

  • an ovarian cyst;

  • cancer of the breast, ovary, uterus, testicle, hypothalamus, or pituitary gland; or

  • if you are allergic to benzyl alcohol, follitropin, sucrose, neomycin, sodium phosphate, or streptomycin.

Do not use follicle stimulating hormone if you are already pregnant. You may need to have a negative pregnancy test before starting this treatment. Tell your doctor right away if you become pregnant.

Tell your doctor if you have ever had:

  • unusual vaginal bleeding;

  • polycystic ovary disease;

  • twisting (torsion) of your ovary;

  • a stroke or blood clot;

  • asthma; or

  • stomach surgery.

Fertility treatment may increase your chance of having multiple births (twins, triplets, etc). These are high-risk pregnancies both for the mother and the babies. Talk to your doctor if you have concerns about this risk.

You should not breastfeed while using follicle stimulating hormone.

How should I use follicle stimulating hormone?

Follow all directions on your prescription label and read all medication guides or instruction sheets. Your doctor may occasionally change your dose. Use the medicine exactly as directed.

You must remain under the care of a doctor while using follicle stimulating hormone.

Follicle stimulating hormone is injected under the skin. A healthcare provider may teach you how to properly use the medication by yourself.

Read and carefully follow any Instructions for Use provided with your medicine. Ask your doctor or pharmacist if you don't understand all instructions.

You may need to mix this medicine with a liquid (diluent) before using it. When using injections by yourself, be sure you understand how to properly mix and store the medicine.

Prepare an injection only when you are ready to give it. Do not use if the medicine looks cloudy or has particles in it. Call your pharmacist for new medicine.

To get pregnant, you may need to have sex daily for several days in a row. The timing of sex and medication dosing is important for follicle stimulating hormone to work.

You will need frequent medical tests.

If you use this medicine to get pregnant, you may also need occasional ultrasound exams. Based on your blood work, you may need to stop having sex for a short time. Follow your doctor's instructions very carefully.

Storing this medicine unopened (not in use):

  • Refrigerate (do not freeze) and use until expiration date; or

  • Store at room temperature protected from light, and use within 3 months or until expiration date.

Storing this medicine opened (in use):

  • Store in a refrigerator (do not freeze), or at room temperature protected from light.

  • Use within 28 days.

Take the medicine out of the refrigerator and allow it to reach room temperature before injecting your dose. Do not heat the medicine.

Use a needle and syringe only once and then place them in a puncture-proof "sharps" container. Follow state or local laws about how to dispose of this container. Keep it out of the reach of children and pets.

What happens if I miss a dose?

Call your doctor for instructions if you miss a dose.

What happens if I overdose?

Seek emergency medical attention or call the Poison Help line at 1-800-222-1222.

What should I avoid while using follicle stimulating hormone?

Follow your doctor's instructions about any restrictions on food, beverages, or activity.

Follicle stimulating hormone side effects

Get emergency medical help if you have signs of an allergic reaction: hives; difficult breathing; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat.

Some women using follicle stimulating hormone develop ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome (OHSS), a potentially life-threatening condition. Stop using this medicine and call your doctor right away if you have symptoms of OHSS during or shortly after using follicle stimulating hormone:

Also call your doctor at once if you have:

  • severe pelvic pain on one side;

  • a cough with bloody mucus;

  • fever, sore throat, swollen glands;

  • a lump or swelling in your testicles;

  • signs of acute respiratory distress syndrome--fever with shortness of breath or rapid breathing; or

  • signs of a blood clot--sudden numbness or weakness, problems with vision or speech, swelling or redness in an arm or leg.

Common side effects may include:

  • redness, swelling, or bruising where an injection was given;

  • an ovarian cyst;

  • headache, tiredness;

  • breast pain or swelling;

  • stuffy nose, sneezing, sinus pain;

  • acne; or

  • nausea.

This is not a complete list of side effects and others may occur. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.

What other drugs will affect follicle stimulating hormone?

Other drugs may affect follicle stimulating hormone, including prescription and over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal products. Tell your doctor about all your current medicines and any medicine you start or stop using.

Further information

Remember, keep this and all other medicines out of the reach of children, never share your medicines with others, and use this medication only for the indication prescribed.

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.

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