Study Inconclusive on Whether Fertility Drugs Increase Breast Cancer Risk

A study published in the American Association for Cancer Research's Cancer Epidemiology, biomarkers & Prevention journal followed women who had taken common fertility drugs Clomid, Pregnyl, Novarel and Profasi for more than 30 years.

The research focused on more than 12,000 women who were treated for infertility between 1965 and 1988. The results showed that the drugs did not increase the risk of breast cancer except for the few women who had taken Clomid for 12 or more cycles. Women who had taken Clomid had more than 1.5 times the risk of contracting the cancer as women who had not taken the drug. At the time of the treatments, dosages of Clomid were 2.5 times than they are today.

Women who did not conceive after taking gonadotropins like Ovidrel, and Pregnyl or Clomid had almost twice the risk of breast cancer as women who had never taken the medications. This result is thought to have been caused more by underlying issues causing the woman to be infertile, not the medications themselves. 

Researchers concluded that because the study focused primarily on a younger population, more evaluation on the effects of long-term fertility treatment is needed.

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