Clomiphene citrate--end of an era? A mini-review

Hum Reprod. 2005 Aug;20(8):2043-51. doi: 10.1093/humrep/dei042. Epub 2005 May 5.


The purpose of this review is to examine whether the time has come to replace clomiphene citrate (CC) as the first line therapy for WHO group II (eu-oestrogenic) infertility, the majority of which is associated with polycystic ovary syndrome. CC has been the first line therapy for these cases for the last 40 years. It is a simple, cheap treatment, almost devoid of side effects which yields a single live birth rate of approximately 25% of starters. Non-response to CC and the gap between ovulation and pregnancy rates have variously been attributed to its anti-estrogen effects, and high LH and androgen concentrations. Three possible contenders for the replacement of CC as first-line treatment are scrutinized: metformin, aromatase inhibitors and low-dose FSH. Each has their advantages and disadvantages, but none of them, while showing much potential promise, has been proven, as yet, to be a feasible replacement for CC in this role. For CC, it may not yet be the end of an era but it may be the beginning of the end.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Clomiphene / therapeutic use*
  • Female
  • Fertility Agents, Female / therapeutic use*
  • Humans
  • Infertility, Female / drug therapy*
  • Ovulation Induction / methods
  • Ovulation Induction / trends*


  • Fertility Agents, Female
  • Clomiphene