Gonadotropin-releasing hormone antagonists for assisted reproductive techniques: Are there clinical differences between agents?

Georg Griesinger, Ricardo E. Felberbaum*, Askan Schultze-Mosgau, Klaus Diedrich

*Corresponding author for this work
16 Citations (Scopus)


Gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH) antagonists have been tested extensively in ovarian stimulation protocols for assisted reproductive techniques (ART). GnRH antagonists immediately and rapidly inhibit gonadotropin release by the anterior pituitary gland by competitive blockage of the GnRH receptor, preventing and interrupting luteinising hormone surges in controlled ovarian hyperstimulation for infertility treatment. A review of the available literature on GnRH antagonists for ART is presented, focusing on the pharmacological and clinical properties of the two compounds available on the market, cetrorelix and ganirelix. Both cetrorelix and ganirelix are well tolerated and effective drugs for controlled ovarian hyperstimulation and are of comparable value for infertility treatment. Cetrorelix is available as a 0.25mg preparation for daily injections and as a 3mg intermediate depot preparation. Ganirelix is available as a 0.25mg preparation for daily injections. Currently, two treatment protocols are used in clinical practice: the GnRH antagonist multiple-dose protocol and the GnRH antagonist single-dose protocol. Both protocols are effective and well tolerated. Cetrorelix and ganirelix have not yet been directly compared in a clinical trial; nor have the single-dose and the multiple-dose approaches been compared in a randomised, controlled trial. Data to compare these compounds in clinical terms can be extrapolated only from results of phase II dose-finding studies and phase III studies comparing GnRH agonist cycles with GnRH antagonists in single- and multiple-dose protocols. Therefore, all conclusions on clinical differences between cetrorelix and ganirelix should remain tentative, as they are based on a limited amount of available data. Randomised, controlled trials comparing cetrorelix and ganirelix are warranted to further evaluate benefits and drawbacks of individual GnRH antagonists. Furthermore, more data are needed to determine the efficacy and safety of cetrorelix and ganirelix in established treatment protocols in patients other than those included in clinical trials investigating new drugs, such as 'poor responders', patients with polycystic ovaries, patients with a history of allergy or overweight patients.

Original languageEnglish
Issue number6
Pages (from-to)563-575
Number of pages13
Publication statusPublished - 2004


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