Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey
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Clomiphene is used to enhance female fertility. Use of clomiphene increases levels of follicle stimulating hormone (FSH), which in turn causes the ovaries to bring more eggs to maturity. Clomiphene is particularly helpful for women with polycystic ovary syndrome.
The supplement N-acetylcysteine (NAC) has shown promise for enhancing the effectiveness of clomiphene. A double-blind study enrolled 150 women with PCOS for whom clomiphene had not been effective.1 Half were given NAC at a dose of 1.2 g per day, while the other half received placebo. All participants continued to receive clomiphene. The results showed that use of NAC significantly improved both ovulation rate and pregnancy rate.
Traditional Chinese Herbal Medicine employs complex combinations of herbs. Several studies conducted in China reported that use of such combinations can enhance the effectiveness of clomiphene.2-6 Unfortunately, none of these studies achieved the minimum standards necessary for scientific validity.
1. Rizk AY, Bedaiwy MA, Al-Inany HG et al. N-acetyl-cysteine is a novel adjuvant to clomiphene citrate in clomiphene citrate-resistant patients with polycystic ovary syndrome. Fertil Steril. 2005;83:367-70.
2. Ma SX, Yin DE, Zhu YL. Clinical observation on effect of Chinese herbs in adjusting hypoestrogenemia status by clomiphene to promote ovulation] Zhongguo Zhong Xi Yi Jie He Za Zhi. 2005;25:360-2.
3. Chao SL, Huang LW, Yen HR. Pregnancy in premature ovarian failure after therapy using Chinese herbal medicine. Chang Gung Med J. 2003;26:449-52.
4. Yoshimoto Y, Miyake A, Tasaka K et al. Ovulation following combined therapy with wen-jing-tang and clomiphene citrate therapy in anovulatory women. Am J Chin Med. 1989;17:243-4.
5. Yoshimoto Y, Miyake A, Tasaka K et al. Ovulation following combined therapy with wen-jing-tang and clomiphene citrate therapy in anovulatory women. Am J Chin Med. 1989;17:243-4.
6. Shao RY, Lang FJ, Cai JF. Clinical observation on treatment of Stein-Leventhal syndrome caused sterility by combined use of clomiphene and Chinese nourishing shen and activating blood circulation drugs] Zhongguo Zhong Xi Yi Jie He Za Zhi. 2004;24:41-3.
Last reviewed December 2015 by EBSCO CAM Review Board Last Updated: 12/15/2015