Modern use of clomiphene citrate in induction of ovulation

Hum Reprod Update. 1997 Jul-Aug;3(4):359-65. doi: 10.1093/humupd/3.4.359.


Clomiphene citrate is the treatment of first choice in the management of infertility in normally oestrogenized, anovulatory women (WHO group II). The majority of women with 'pure' anovulatory infertility respond to treatment with clomiphene citrate. The rates of pregnancy and miscarriage are close to those expected in a normal fertile population. Basal hormone concentrations do not predict outcome. An increased body mass index is the only factor which is consistently associated with a decreased response to clomiphene citrate; it follows therefore, that weight reduction should be an important part of therapy in anovulatory women. According to our data, only an increased luteinizing hormone value immediately post clomiphene citrate predicted an adverse pregnancy outcome in women who conceived. Clomiphene citrate, along with other ovulation induction therapies, can cause multiple follicular development, with a risk of ovarian hyperstimulation and multiple pregnancy. Ultrasound monitoring of treatment is important in order to choose the appropriate dose of clomiphene citrate in subsequent cycles and to minimize the risks of hyperstimulation and multiple pregnancy. When couples with other factors contributing to subfertility are excluded, the cumulative conception rate continues to rise after 6 months of treatment with clomiphene citrate, reaches a plateau by treatment cycle 12 and approaches that of the normal population. It has been reported that prolonged use of clomiphene citrate may be associated with an increased risk of a borderline or invasive ovarian tumour. Taking into consideration these observations, we recommend that anovulatory women responsive to clomiphene citrate should be treated for at least 6 cycles before considering more complex or invasive methods of ovulation induction, and that treatment should probably be limited to a maximum of 12 cycles.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Clomiphene / adverse effects
  • Clomiphene / therapeutic use*
  • Female
  • Fertility Agents, Female / adverse effects
  • Fertility Agents, Female / therapeutic use*
  • Humans
  • Infertility, Female / drug therapy*
  • Ovulation Induction / methods*
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy Outcome
  • Pregnancy Rate


  • Fertility Agents, Female
  • Clomiphene