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HCG Side Effects

Generic name: chorionic gonadotropin (hcg)

Medically reviewed by Last updated on Nov 29, 2022.

Note: This document contains side effect information about chorionic gonadotropin (hcg). Some dosage forms listed on this page may not apply to the brand name HCG.

Applies to chorionic gonadotropin (hcg): powder for solution, solution.

Serious side effects of HCG

Along with its needed effects, chorionic gonadotropin (hcg) may cause some unwanted effects. Although not all of these side effects may occur, if they do occur they may need medical attention.

Check with your doctor as soon as possible if any of the following side effects occur while taking chorionic gonadotropin (hcg):

For females only

More common

Less common or rare

  • Abdominal or stomach pain (severe)
  • bloating (moderate to severe)
  • decreased amount of urine
  • feeling of indigestion
  • nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea (continuing or severe)
  • pelvic pain (severe)
  • shortness of breath
  • swelling of feet or lower legs
  • weight gain (rapid)

For boys only

Less common

  • Acne
  • enlargement of penis and testes
  • growth of pubic hair
  • increase in height (rapid)

Frequency not determined

  • difficult or labored breathing
  • difficulty breathing
  • flushing of skin
  • hives or welts
  • itching of skin
  • large, hive-like swelling on face, eyelids, lips, tongue, throat, hands, legs, feet, sex organs
  • pain in chest, groin, or legs, especially the calves
  • redness of skin
  • severe, sudden headache
  • skin rash
  • slurred speech
  • sudden loss of coordination
  • sudden, severe weakness or numbness in arm or leg
  • sudden, unexplained shortness of breath
  • tightness in chest
  • unusually warm skin
  • vision changes
  • wheezing

Other side effects of HCG

Some side effects of chorionic gonadotropin (hcg) may occur that usually do not need medical attention. These side effects may go away during treatment as your body adjusts to the medicine. Also, your health care professional may be able to tell you about ways to prevent or reduce some of these side effects.

Check with your health care professional if any of the following side effects continue or are bothersome or if you have any questions about them:

Less common

  • Discouragement
  • enlargement of breasts
  • feeling sad or empty
  • headache
  • irritability
  • lack of appetite
  • loss of interest or pleasure
  • pain at place of injection
  • trouble concentrating
  • trouble sleeping
  • tiredness

After you stop using this medicine, it may still produce some side effects that need attention. During this period of time, Check with your doctor immediately if you notice the following side effects:

For females only

Less common or rare

  • Abdominal or stomach pain (severe)
  • bloating (moderate to severe)
  • decreased amount of urine
  • feeling of indigestion
  • nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea (continuing or severe)
  • pelvic pain (severe)
  • shortness of breath
  • weight gain (rapid)

For Healthcare Professionals

Applies to chorionic gonadotropin (hcg): injectable powder for injection, intramuscular powder for injection, subcutaneous powder for injection, subcutaneous solution.


HCG: The most commonly reported side effects included rash, groin pain, loin pain, and fever.

r-HCG: The most commonly reported side effects included injection site pain, headache not otherwise specified (NOS), nausea, and application site disorders.[Ref]



Frequency not reported: injection site pain, injection site rash, localized hypersensitivity reaction


Very common (10% or more): Injection site pain (up to 19.5%), application site disorder (up to 14.6%)

Common (1% to 10%): Injection site bruising, injection site inflammation, injection site reaction, vessel site hemorrhage[Ref]

Nervous system


Frequency not reported: Headache


Very common (10% or more): Headache NOS (up to 18%)

Common (1% to 10%): Headache

Frequency not reported: Dizziness, hypesthesia, paresthesia, twitching[Ref]



Rare (0.01% to 0.1%: Fever

Frequency not reported: Fatigue, pain, swelling, tiredness


Very common (10% or more): Post-operative pain (up to 15.7%)

Common (1% to 10%): Pain, pyrexia, rigors, tiredness

Frequency not reported: Body pain, chromosomal abnormality (47, XXX), congenital anomaly of the fetus/newborn, Down's syndrome, fever, major congenital malformations, malaise, missed abortion, placenta previa, premature birth, premature labor, spontaneous abortion[Ref]



Frequency not reported: Abdominal discomfort, abdominal pain, acute abdominal pain, ascites, bloating, diarrhea, gastrointestinal symptoms, nausea


Very common (10% or more): Nausea (up to 14.6%), abdominal pain (up to 11.2%)

Common (1% to 10%): Abdominal pain lower, mouth ulceration, vomiting

Uncommon (0.1% to 1%): Diarrhea

Frequency not reported: Abdominal enlargement, flatulence, hemoperitoneum[Ref]



Frequency not reported: Large ovarian cysts (prone to rupture), mild ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome (OHSS), mild to moderate enlargement of ovaries, ovarian cysts, painful breasts, severe OHSS, unwanted ovarian hyperstimulation


Common (1% to 10%): Dysmenorrhea, intermenstrual bleeding, ovarian cyst, ovarian hyperstimulation, mild/moderate OHSS

Uncommon (0.1% to 1%): Breast pain, severe OHSS

Frequency not reported: Adnexal torsion, albuminuria, cervical lesion, dysuria, ectopic pregnancy, genital herpes, genital moniliasis, leukorrhea, mild to moderate ovarian enlargement, ovarian enlargement, ovarian torsion, postpartum fever, urinary incontinence, urinary tract infection, uterine disorders, vaginal discomfort, vaginal hemorrhage, vaginitis[Ref]



Frequency not reported: Dyspnea, hydrothorax, shortness of breath


Common (1% to 10%): Pharyngolaryngeal pain, rhinorrhea, upper respiratory tract infections NOS

Frequency not reported: Acute pulmonary distress, cough, hiccup, pharyngitis, pulmonary complications, upper respiratory tract infection[Ref]



Common (1% to 10%): Rash

Rare (0.01% to 0.1%): Generalized rash

Frequency not reported: Acne, erythema/redness, itching, urticaria


Common (1% to 10%): Ecchymosis

Very rare (less than 0.01%): Mild reversible skin reactions, rash

Frequency not reported: Pruritus[Ref]



Common (1% to 10%): Groin pain, loin pain

Frequency not reported: Back pain, cranial malformation[Ref]



Frequency not reported: Depression, irritability, mood changes, restlessness


Common (1% to 10%): Emotional disturbance NOS

Uncommon (0.1% to 1%): Depression, irritability, restlessness

Frequency not reported: Emotional lability, insomnia[Ref]


Human Chorionic Gonadotropin (HCG):

Frequency not reported: Bruising, edema, thromboembolism

Recombinant Chorionic Gonadotropin (r-HCG):

Common (1% to 10%): Peripheral swelling

Very rare (less than 0.01%): Shock, thromboembolism

Frequency not reported: Atrial septal defect, cardiac arrhythmia, heart murmur, hot flashes, vascular complications

Postmarketing reports: Thromboembolic events[Ref]



Common (1% to 10%): Pyelonephritis NOS[Ref]



Frequency not reported: Allergic reactions, angioedema, systemic hypersensitivity reactions


Very rare (less than 0.01%): Anaphylactic reactions, mild to severe hypersensitivity reactions

Postmarketing reports: Allergic reactions, mild systemic allergic reactions[Ref]



Frequency not reported: Sodium retention, water retention, weight gain


Frequency not reported: Hyperglycemia[Ref]



Frequency not reported: Excessive androgen production, gynecomastia, precocious puberty[Ref]



Frequency not reported: Benign/malignant ovarian neoplasms, cervical carcinoma[Ref]



Frequency not reported: Leukocytosis[Ref]


1. "Product Information. Pregnyl (chorionic gonadotropin (HCG))." Organon

2. "Product Information. Novarel (chorionic gonadotropin (HCG))." Ferring Pharmaceuticals Inc (2022):

3. "Product Information. Ovidrel (chorionic gonadotropin (HCG))." Serono Laboratories Inc

4. Cerner Multum, Inc. "UK Summary of Product Characteristics." O 0

5. Cerner Multum, Inc. "Australian Product Information." O 0

Further information

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

Some side effects may not be reported. You may report them to the FDA.