Ovidrel vs Pregnyl

Listen to the article instead of reading through it.


For patients with fertility issues, certain medications can stimulate the growth and release of mature eggs in women, an important step in the conception process. Ovidrel and Pregnyl are two such drugs that are prescribed for this purpose. They each mimic the action of human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG), a hormone that triggers ovulation. Ovidrel is a recombinant form of hCG, created in a laboratory using recombinant DNA techniques. It's administered as an injection and is generally more consistent in its dosage due to the controlled manufacturing process. Pregnyl, on the other hand, is a natural form of hCG, derived from the urine of pregnant women. It's also administered as an injection, but its concentration can vary slightly due to the natural sourcing of the hormone.

What is Ovidrel?

Choriogonadotropin alfa (the generic name for Ovidrel) was a significant advancement upon the original hCG preparations such as Pregnyl. Ovidrel was first approved by the FDA in 1998. Ovidrel is a recombinant form of the hormone human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG), which is key in triggering ovulation and the final maturation of eggs in the ovary. It is prescribed for women undergoing fertility treatment. Ovidrel, being a recombinant form of hCG, has the advantage of being more pure, having less batch-to-batch variability, and having no risk of transmitting infectious diseases. It also comes in a pre-filled syringe, making it more convenient to use. Pregnyl, however, is derived from the urine of pregnant women and while it serves the same purpose, it may have more side effects due to its non-recombinant nature.

What conditions is Ovidrel approved to treat?

Ovidrel is approved for the following fertility-related treatments:

  • Induction of final follicular maturation and early luteinization in infertile women who have undergone pituitary desensitization and who have been appropriately pretreated with gonadotropins.
  • Triggering ovulation in women undergoing assisted reproductive technologies (ART) such as in-vitro fertilisation, after having been appropriately pre-stimulated.

How does Ovidrel help with these illnesses?

Ovidrel aids in the facilitation of ovulation by increasing the amount of human Chorionic Gonadotropin (hCG) available in the body. It accomplishes this by acting as a surrogate to luteinizing hormone (LH), which is a hormone that triggers ovulation and development of the corpus luteum. Therefore, when Ovidrel is administered, it induces final maturation and release of eggs from the ovaries during an assisted reproductive technology program. hCG has several roles in female reproduction including stimulating production of progesterone, a hormone essential for pregnancy maintenance.

Similarly to Ovidrel, Pregnyl also contains hCG and acts on similar biological mechanisms but there are differences in their manufacturing process and purity levels. Understanding these differences can help patients manage their treatment plan effectively under medical supervision depending upon individual health circumstances.

What is Pregnyl?

Pregnyl, a brand name for the injectable medication known as human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG), is similarly used to induce ovulation and treat infertility in women. It also has applications in young boys when their testicles have not dropped down into the scrotum normally due to a pituitary gland disorder. Pregnyl accomplishes this by mimicking the body's natural luteinizing hormone that causes eggs to mature and be released during ovulation. Pregnyl was first approved by the FDA in 1975.

As Pregnyl is an hCG-based drug, it does not affect other hormones such as estrogen or progesterone directly. This means its side effect profile differs from drugs that do manipulate these hormones like Ovidrel; specifically, it may cause less water retention and mood swings – common side effects of medications affecting estrogen levels.

The benefits of hCG treatments like Pregnyl can be particularly valuable for patients who have not responded effectively to "typical" fertility treatments, much like those who find relief with Wellbutrin over Prozac.

What conditions is Pregnyl approved to treat?

Pregnyl is an injectable medication that's approved for the following uses:

  • Inducing ovulation and pregnancy in women who have been medically determined to have problems with ovulation.
  • Increasing sperm count in men who are facing certain fertility issues.

How does Pregnyl help with these illnesses?

Human chorionic gonadotropin (HCG) is a hormone that supports the normal development of an egg in a woman's ovary and stimulates the release of the egg during ovulation. Pregnyl, a brand of HCG, has a role in many bodily processes related to fertility and pregnancy. It's often used to trigger ovulation and to treat certain conditions in men, such as low sperm counts (hypogonadism). Pregnyl works by mimicking the action of luteinizing hormone in the body, which leads to the stimulation of ovulation in women. It's action on the testes in men leads to the production of testosterone and sperm. While similar in function to Ovidrel, Pregnyl is derived from the urine of pregnant women, which may make it a more suitable choice for patients who do not respond well to recombinant DNA products like Ovidrel. Pregnyl may also be combined with other fertility treatments in certain cases.

How effective are both Ovidrel and Pregnyl?

Both Ovidrel (choriogonadotropin alfa) and Pregnyl (human chorionic gonadotropin) have proven efficiency in triggering ovulation and treating certain fertility problems, and they were approved by the FDA a few decades apart. Since they are structurally different, they may be prescribed under different circumstances. The effectiveness of Ovidrel and Pregnyl in triggering ovulation was directly studied in several clinical trials over the years, with the two drugs exhibiting comparable efficacy in inducing ovulation as well as similar safety profiles.

A review of trials on Ovidrel revealed that it is effective in inducing final follicular maturation and early luteinization, with a favorable side effect profile over other gonadotropins. The same study reports that Ovidrel has become a commonly prescribed drug for ovulation induction in assisted reproductive technology. Further, as it was the first recombinant human chorionic gonadotropin developed, there is a significant history and study of its effectiveness in treating fertility problems. The dose showing optimal efficacy is usually 250 μg, and beyond triggering ovulation, it also appears to facilitate the final maturation of eggs.

A review indicated that Pregnyl is effective in treating fertility issues, and that it is similar in efficacy to other common gonadotropins. Nonetheless, Pregnyl is usually considered after recombinant options such as Ovidrel. Significant research on its use involves Pregnyl combined with other fertility treatments, so data confirming its efficacy as a stand-alone treatment is less robust than that for Ovidrel. Nonetheless, due to its unique pharmacology, Pregnyl may be an optimal treatment for patients who did not respond well to recombinant options or have a particular need to avoid common side effects of recombinant gonadotropins, such as injection site reactions or mild ovarian hyperstimulation.

abstract image of a researcher studying a bottle of drug.

At what dose is Ovidrel typically prescribed?

Injectable dosages of Ovidrel typically consist of a single dose of 250 mcg, which helps trigger the process of ovulation in women undergoing fertility treatments. Similarly, Pregnyl is administered through injection, with doses ranging between 5000-10000 IU to induce ovulation after stimulation of follicle growth. The exact dosage and timing are determined by a healthcare provider based on individual patient needs and responses. Neither medication should be self-administered without clear instructions from a medical professional. Overdosing or incorrect usage can lead to complications such as Ovarian Hyperstimulation Syndrome (OHSS).

At what dose is Pregnyl typically prescribed?

Pregnyl treatment is generally initiated with a dosage of 5000 to 10,000 IU one day following the last dose of menotropins. This helps induce ovulation and pregnancy in anovulatory, infertile women in whom the cause of infertility is functional and not due to primary ovarian failure. The dosage can then be adjusted based on response and tolerability. Like all medications, Pregnyl should always be used under medical supervision as its improper use can result in serious complications such as multiple pregnancies or ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome (OHSS). It's critically important to adhere strictly to your healthcare provider's instructions when using this medication.

What are the most common side effects for Ovidrel?

Common side effects of Ovidrel include:

  • Headache
  • Nausea, vomiting
  • Mild abdominal pain or bloating
  • Redness or swelling at the injection site

Whereas Pregnyl may cause these common side effects:

  • Headache
  • Restlessness or irritability
  • Depression
  • Tiredness
  • Pain at the place of injection

Remember that each individual can react differently to medications and it's always important to consult with your healthcare provider about potential side effects. If you experience any severe symptoms such as difficulty breathing, extreme dizziness, severe pelvic pain, or signs of a blood clot (such as sudden numbness/weakness on one side of the body), seek immediate medical attention.

abstract image of a patient experiencing side effect

Are there any potential serious side effects for Ovidrel?

While both Ovidrel and Pregnyl are used to stimulate ovulation, they can have different side effects. Some of the severe but rare side effects of Ovidrel may include:

  • Severe pelvic pain on either or both sides
  • Swelling or weight gain
  • Diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, bloating
  • Rapid heart rate; feeling short of breath (especially when lying down)
  • Allergic reactions such as hives; difficulty breathing; swelling in your face or throat.

In some instances, you might experience symptoms associated with ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome:

  • Stomach pain and swelling
  • Shortness of breath
  • Weight gain
  • Diarrhea and nausea

If any of these occur it's crucial to seek medical attention immediately.

Pregnancy outside the uterus is also possible after taking this drug. If you experience severe lower abdominal pain especially if located on one side only then consult a doctor urgently as this could be an indication for ectopic pregnancy.

What are the most common side effects for Pregnyl?

Potential side effects of Pregnyl can include:

  • Mild abdominal pain
  • Nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea
  • Bloating or cramping
  • Headache or tiredness
  • Irritability or restlessness
  • Depression and mood changes
  • Breast tenderness or swelling
  • Pain or redness at the injection site Please note that while these are some common side effects, not everyone experiences them. It's crucial to consult with your healthcare provider about potential risks and benefits before starting a new medication.

Are there any potential serious side effects for Pregnyl?

While Pregnyl is commonly used in fertility treatments, it can also cause some side effects that require immediate medical attention. These include:

  • Signs of allergic reactions such as hives, itching, difficulty breathing or swallowing, swelling of the face or throat
  • Severe pelvic pain on either side
  • Unusual weight gain
  • Swelling or bloating in the stomach/abdominal region
  • Nausea, vomiting and diarrhea
  • Shortness of breath
  • Less urination than normal
  • Painful breasts

Pregnyl may also cause a condition known as OHSS (Ovarian Hyperstimulation Syndrome), which could be life-threatening if not treated promptly. If you notice any unusual symptoms while using Pregnyl, seek immediate medical assistance.

Contraindications for Ovidrel and Pregnyl?

Both Ovidrel and Pregnyl, like many other fertility medications, may cause mood swings, abdominal pain, or bloating in some individuals. If you notice your symptoms worsening, or an increase in emotional distress or physical discomfort, please seek immediate medical attention.

Neither Ovidrel or Pregnyl should be used if you are taking, or have recently taken, certain medications such as gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH) agonists or antagonists. Always inform your physician about any medications you are currently taking, as some may require a certain period to clear from your system to prevent harmful interactions with Ovidrel and Pregnyl.

These medications should not be used if you have certain medical conditions, such as tumors of the pituitary gland or hypothalamus, uncontrolled thyroid or adrenal gland disorders, an ovarian cyst, early puberty, or any cause of abnormal vaginal bleeding. Always consult your healthcare provider before starting treatment with Ovidrel or Pregnyl.

How much do Ovidrel and Pregnyl cost?

For the brand-name versions of these fertility drugs:

  • The price of a single pre-filled syringe of Ovidrel (250 mcg) averages around $150, which is used as a one-time dose in the cycle.
  • The price of a single vial of Pregnyl (10,000 units) averages around $120, also used as a one-time dose in the cycle.

Therefore, while the prices are close, Pregnyl is slightly cheaper than Ovidrel on a per-cycle treatment basis. Please remember that cost should not be the primary consideration in determining which of these fertility drugs is right for you.

There are no generic versions of Ovidrel and Pregnyl available, so the cost will likely hinge on the brand-name prices, your insurance coverage, and the pharmacy where you buy the medication.

Popularity of Ovidrel and Pregnyl

Choriogonadotropin alfa, more commonly known by its brand names Ovidrel and Pregnyl, are both types of human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG). They're used to trigger ovulation in women undergoing fertility treatments.

Ovidrel had an estimated 1.4 million prescriptions filled in the United States in 2020. It's a recombinant form of hCG, produced through genetic engineering techniques. Ovidrel has grown increasingly popular over the years due to its convenience - it is available as a pre-filled syringe that makes administration easy for patients.

Pregnyl, on the other hand, accounted for around 500 thousand prescriptions filled last year. Unlike Ovidrel which is synthetic, Pregnyl is derived from the urine of pregnant women. While it's been on the market longer than Ovidrel and has had steady prescription rates over time, it requires mixing before use which can be seen as less convenient than its counterpart.


Both Ovidrel (choriogonadotropin alfa) and Pregnyl (human chorionic gonadotropin or hCG) are widely used in fertility treatments, aiding women to conceive by stimulating ovulation. Both medications have proven their effectiveness over years of use and numerous clinical studies.

Ovidrel is a recombinant form of the hormone hCG, produced using genetic engineering techniques, whereas Pregnyl is derived from the urine of pregnant women. Because they share a similar mechanism of action—stimulating maturation and release of eggs—the choice between these two medications often depends on individual patient factors such as tolerability and response to treatment.

Neither drug should be used if there is early puberty or hormone-related cancer present. They also both require careful monitoring by a healthcare professional due to risks associated with ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome (OHSS).

Both Ovidrel and Pregnyl come in injectable forms; however, they differ in their preparation process: Ovidrel comes pre-filled ready for injection while Pregnyl needs mixing before administration which may sway towards convenience for some patients.

Side effects are generally mild but can include abdominal pain, swelling around the injection site, headaches, tiredness or mood changes. It's important that patients report any unusual symptoms immediately to their healthcare provider.