Current opinion in obstetrics & gynecology

Letrozole for ovulation induction and controlled ovarian hyperstimulation.

PMID 20592587


Letrozole, an aromatase inhibitor, is the newest addition to our armamentarium in the treatment of infertility. It is utilized in much the same way as clomiphene citrate, but with some additional benefits. In this review, the latest studies will be summarized with emphasis on dose, duration of use, safety, number of mature follicles, and pregnancy outcomes. Letrozole has fewer side effects, and a shorter half-life than clomiphene citrate, and no demonstrable effect upon the receptivity of the endometrium. It is efficacious in treating women with chronic anovulation, unexplained infertility and diminished ovarian reserve. Its safety is superior to clomiphene citrate. Utilizing bio-equivalent doses, letrozole pregnancy rates are equal or superior to clomiphene citrate. Several studies suggest situations where it is more efficacious than gonadotropin treatment. With further study, this drug could replace clomiphene citrate as the primary medication for chronic anovulation and/or unexplained infertility. It could augment or even obviate the use of gonadotropins in the treatment of women who have been unsuccessful in achieving pregnancy with clomiphene citrate. It may also be an adjunct for women with diminished ovarian reserve. Further studies are needed to determine optimal dosing and long term safety for women treated with the drug.