50 years ago, Clomid brought forth the era of assisted reproduction.
When Eli Adashi, MD, began practicing fertility medicine in 1974, there was nothing so revolutionary as in vitro fertilization, but at least there was the drug clomiphene citrate (Clomid). Before that came to market in 1967, Adashi says with only a little exaggeration, the job of a fertility doctor was basically to refer couples who could not conceive a baby to adoption agencies.
“Clomiphene citrate ushered in the era of assisted reproduction,” writes Adashi, a professor of medicine at the Warren Alpert Medical School, in a new paper in Fertility and Sterility to mark the drug’s 50th anniversary year. “To patients whose only family-building recourse was adoption, clomiphene citrate proved nothing short of life-changing.”
Still in wide use today, the drug works by modulating estrogen levels in women who are producing too much of the hormone to properly trigger a monthly ovulation cycle. There are many other causes of infertility that require other means to address, Adashi says, but by some estimates there are also millions of people, age 50 and younger, whom Clomid helped to make possible. The World Health Organization lists the drug among the globe’s “essential medicines.”
In the article Adashi, who has studied the drug in the lab and the clinic and prescribed it thousands of times over the decades, traces the drug’s development, path to market, and ultimate impact.
Read more here.