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Gonadotropin Preparations

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Title: Gonadotropin Preparations  
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Subject: Follicle-stimulating hormone
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Gonadotropin Preparations

Gonadotropin preparations are drugs that mimic the physiological effects of gonadotropins, used therapeutically mainly as fertility medication. For example, the so-called menotropins consist of LH and FSH extracted from human urine from menopausal women.[1] There are also recombinant variants.

FSH and LH Preparations

hMG (human Menopausal Gonadotrophins), FSH and LH prepared from human urine collected from postmenopausal women. First extracted in 1953.[2] Injected intra-muscularily (IM) or subcutaneously (SC).


menotropins for injections, USP


  • Menopur, 5 mL vials containing 75 IU FSH and 75 IU LH.
  • Repronex, vials containing either 75 IU FSH and 75 IU LH, or 150 IU FSH and 150 IU LH.

FSH Preparations

There are two types of FSH preparations. Those derived from the urine of menopausal women and recombinant preparations. The recombinant preparations are more pure and more easily administered, but they are more expensive. The urinary preparations are equally effective and less expensive, but are not as convenient to administer as they are available in vials versus injection pens. One study reported that users of the purified urinary FSH preparation Bravelle experienced less injection site pain compared to the recombinant preparation Follistim.[3]

Urinary Preparations

Purified urinary FSH (75 IU FSH and ≤ 2 IU of LH)
urofollitropin for injection, purified.
  • Bravelle, U.S., (≤ 2 IU LH)
  • Metrodin, U.S. and Canada, (≤ 1 IU LH)
  • Fertinorm Hp, (Canada)
Highly purified urinary FSH (75 IU FSH and ≤ 0.1 IU LH/1000 IU FSH)
urofollitropin for injection, (highly) purified.
typically 75 - 300, but as high as 600 IU / day
Fertinex (≤ 0.1 IU LH/1000 IU FSH)

Recombinant Preparations

Follitropin alfa
Follitropin alfa injection
Follitropin beta
follitropin beta injection
  • Follistim
  • Puregon

The package insert for Gonal-F states that based on physio-chemical tests and bioassays that follitropin beta and follitropin alfa are indistinguishable. Two studies showed no difference.[4][5] However, a more recent study showed there is may be a slight clinical difference, with the alfa form tending towards a higher pregnancy rate and the beta form tending towards a lower pregnancy rate, but with significantly higher estradiol (E2) levels.[6]

The package insert for Puregon states that structural analysis shows that the amino acid sequence of follitropin beta is identical to that of natural human follicle stimulating hormone (hFSH). Further, the ogliosaccharide side chains are very similar, but not completely identical to that of natural hFSH. However, these small differences do not affect the bioactivity compared to natural hFSH.

FSH Analogs

Corifollitropin alfa

Merck received approval on February 15, 2010 from the European Commission for ELONVA (corifollitropin alfa) a long lasting single injection fusion protein lacking LH activity. Only one injection is required for the first seven days, replacing the first seven daily injections of conventional FSH. Initial results demonstrates similar pregnancy rates as daily recombinant FSH injections.[7][8]

LH (Luteinizing hormone) Preparations

Prepared from recombinant DNA.

lutropin alfa for injection

hCG (human Chorionic Gonadotropin) Preparations

Used to induce final maturation of follicle and subsequent ovulation. Also used for luteal phase support. Typically a single injection of 10,000 international units is used to induce ovulation. Recent data has shown that subcutaneous injection works as well as intramuscular injection, however this form of administration is not FDA approved.[9]

Urinary Preparations

Derived from the urine of pregnant women.

(human) chorionic gonadotropin for injection, USP
  • Pregnyl (Merck/Schering-Plough)
  • Follutein
  • Profasi
  • Novarel

Recombinant Preparations

choriogonadotropin alfa for injection (recombinant human Chorionic Gonadotropin, r-hCG).


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