How Does Gonal-F Compare to Other Fertility Meds?

Dr. Mousa Shamonki
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Gonal-F (follitropin alfa) is a hormone and fertility medicine from manufacturer Serono that stimulates egg production in the ovary. In general, the higher the dose, the more eggs are stimulated to grow. Gonal-F comes in two forms: a cartridge (450 IU, and 1050 IU) that fits in to an easy-to-use pen, and a 75 IU vial requring mixing (also known as Gonal-F RFF). It is similarly effective to other drugs from the same family (gonadotropins).

What are the pros of using Gonal-F in fertility treatments?
Gonal-F has a long record of being a safe and effective treatment. Both forms have benefits as well: the Gonal-F pen can be adjusted in small increments, allowing for precise dosing. The Gonal-F RFF vial is slightly less expensive and can be mixed with other fertility medicines, allowing for fewer injections. The pens also provide a good value though—the cartridges each come with over 100 IU of overfill that can still be used.

What are the downsides to Gonal-F?

It is more expensive than Bravelle, the highly purified urinary form of follitropin. However, Bravelle does only come in vial form.

Does Gonal-F have a generic? Will there be one available in the future?

There are currently no generic alternatives available, but it is possible that one may hit the market in 2016.

Are there any ways to reduce my costs?

If you have insurance, the manufacturer offers a co-pay card that can reduce your costs by up to $200.

If you are uninsured or paying cash, the manufacturer offers a $10 mail in rebate.

However, if you are uninsured and meet income requirements, you could be eligible to save 25%, 50%, or 75% off the price at the pharmacy.

What are the side effects of Gonal-F?

A local reaction to the shot, with redness and swelling, is by far the most common side effect. More significant allergic reactions are possible, but they are rare. Even more rarely, Gonal-F can be associated with over-stimulation of the ovary. This can cause ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome—and that would mean you would need to cancel your treatment cycle.

Are there any alternatives to Gonal-F?
Follistim AQ and Bravelle are other forms of follitropin that your doctor may prescribe instead of Gonal-F—look for overviews of these options coming soon.

This is part of a series of guest posts from fertility doctor Dr. Mousa Shamonki. Have any questions or requests for more information? Let us know.

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