General Information: Human chorionic gonadotropin (HCG) and a recombinant formulation, called choriogonadotropin alfa (r-HCG), is a gonad-stimulating polypeptide hormone normally secreted by the placenta during pregnancy. The non-recombinant products are obtained from the urine of pregnant women. Recombinant-HCG is produced via recombinant DNA techniques in Chinese Hamster Ovary (CHO) cells. The pharmacological actions of HCG and of r-HCG are similar and resemble those of luteinizing hormone (LH); HCG is generally used as a substitute for LH. HCG has been used to treat cryptorchidism or hypogonadotropic hypogonadism in males, sometimes in combination with menotropins or follitropin. Interestingly, HCG was introduced for the treatment of cryptorchidism in 1931, and remained the only hormonal agent available to treat the condition until the 1970’s, when gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH) analogs also became a treatment option. Human chorionic gonadotropin (HCG) is used in controlled ovarian hyperstimulation protocols for infertility in females. Intralesional HCG has been utilized for the treatment of Kaposi’s sarcoma, but further clinical trials are required to prove efficacy. Human chorionic gonadotropin is banned from use in competitive sport; some male athletes have used HCG to stimulate testosterone production or to prevent testicular atrophy resulting from the abuse of anabolic steroids and androgens. Urine-derived HCG was first approved by the FDA in 1939, and received subsequent approval for additional indications in 1973.
Indications: Human chorionic gonadotropin (HCG) is indicated for different reasons in men and women. HCG is used in combination with other fertility drugs to increase a woman’s chance of pregnancy. In men or adolescent boys, HCG helps with the production of testosterone and sperm. HCG is also used in male children with cryptorchidism, a specific birth problem of the testes.
Adverse Reactions/Side Effects: What are some possible side effects of this medicine? Changes in emotions or mood, headache; pain, irritation or inflammation at the injection site; fatigue. This list may not describe all possible side effects. Call your health care provider immediately if you are experiencing any signs of an allergic reaction: skin rash, itching or hives, swelling of the face, lips, or tongue. For boys: acne; breast enlargement; enlargement of penis and testes; development of facial or pubic hair; a sudden increase in height. For women on fertility treatments: indigestion; nausea, vomiting; passing small amounts of urine; shortness of breath; stomach area or pelvic pain or bloating; swelling; rapid weight gain.