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Obstet Gynecol. 2011 Sep;118(3):706-7. doi: 10.1097/AOG.0b013e31822bbbb2.

Gonadotrophin-releasing hormone antagonists for assisted reproductive technology.

Author information

1
University of Chicago, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, 5841 South Maryland Avenue, MC 2050, Chicago, IL 60637, USA. mgilliam@babies.bsd.uchicago.edu

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Gonadotrophin-releasing hormone (GnRH) antagonists can be used to prevent a luteinizing hormone (LH) surge during controlled ovarian hyperstimulation (COH) without the hypo-estrogenic side-effects, flare-up, or long down-regulation period associated with agonists. The antagonists directly and rapidly inhibit gonadotrophin release within several hours through competitive binding to pituitary GnRH receptors. This property allows their use at any time during the follicular phase. Several different regimes have been described including multiple-dose fixed (0.25 mg daily from day six to seven of stimulation), multiple-dose flexible (0.25 mg daily when leading follicle is 14 to 15 mm), and single-dose (single administration of 3 mg on day 7 to 8 of stimulation) protocols, with or without the addition of an oral contraceptive pill. Further, women receiving antagonists have been shown to have a lower incidence of ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome (OHSS). Assuming comparable clinical outcomes for the antagonist and agonist protocols, these benefits would justify a change from the standard long agonist protocol to antagonist regimens. This is an update of a Cochrane review first published in 2001, and previously updated in 2006.

OBJECTIVES:

To evaluate the effectiveness and safety of gonadotrophin-releasing hormone (GnRH) antagonists compared with the standard long protocol of GnRH agonists for controlled ovarian hyperstimulation in assisted conception cycle.

SEARCH STRATEGY:

We performed electronic searches of major databases, for example Cochrane Menstrual Disorders and Subfertility Group Specialized Register, CENTRAL, MEDLINE, EMBASE (from 1987 to April 2010); and handsearched bibliographies of relevant publications and reviews, and abstracts of major scientific meetings, for example the European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology (ESHRE) and American Society for Reproductive Medicine (ASRM).

SELECTION CRITERIA:

: Two review authors independently screened the relevant citations for randomized controlled trials (RCTs) comparing different agonist versus antagonist protocols in women undergoing IVF or ICSI.

DATA COLLECTION AND ANALYSIS:

Two review authors independently assessed trial risk of bias and extracted data. If relevant data were missing or unclear, the authors were contacted for clarification.

MAIN RESULTS:

Forty-five RCTs (n=7511) comparing the antagonist to the long agonist protocols fulfilled the inclusion criteria. There was no evidence of a statistically significant difference in rates of live-births (9 RCTs; odds ratio (OR) 0.86, 95% CI 0.69 to 1.08). There was a statistically significant lower incidence of OHSS in the GnRH antagonist group (29 RCTs; OR 0.43, 95% CI 0.33 to 0.57).

AUTHORS' CONCLUSIONS:

The use of antagonist compared with long GnRH agonist protocols was associated with a large reduction in OHSS and there was no evidence of a difference in live-birth rates.

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