So Saturday Berilac and I went to our "injectibles" class.
The nurse showed us four different types of FSH drugs, they are:
Basically these drugs all do the same thing with slight drug variations or administering tool features - outlined below. The nurse gave us the whole down-low on every drug, the benefits of each, and the make up of them. This wonderful nurse of ours is a patient advocate and has completed a research study on patients choosing their OWN medication ... so a major part of the injectibles class was informing us about our options and helping us to make a decision on the drug that we feel is right for us. How strange is that? Have you ever had a Dr talk with you (and allow you to choose!) regarding the various brand name and generic drugs she's about to prescribe to you? It just doesn't happen, so it's neat to feel like I have even a LITTLE control in this whole process. When I share this information (that my RE office is allowing me to pick my meds) with my infertile friends on message boards and the like - they are all shocked. They are all under the impression that the different drugs are needed for different types of patients - but in reality they are very similar and the preference a Dr might have when prescribing a drug ... is likely due to marketing and a good relationship with the sales guy! (ok, now I'm getting way off track ... but I found this QUITE interesting)
Ok, as far as I understand, here is the breakdown:
Follistim & Gonal-F (from here forward referred to as: F&G) are similar.
Bravelle & Menopur (B&M) are similar.
*administered by easy small dose "pen" tool
*"G" is the most expensive of all 4 products as there is only one pharmacy in the US it's distributed out of (it's own) but b/c of this it has the best customer service ("hello operator, yeah, I've got a needle stuck in my butt ... can you help me?)
*administered using the type of syringes you see strewn about in alleyways.
*is mixed together with 1cc of dilutant so it allows you to mix ALL your doses into ONE shot rather than having say 3 shots. (this is really good because as I will most likely need to take boatloads of drugs, I don't need to take multiple shots!)
*these puppies sting the most out of the different types.
*"M" has LH in it, so it's needed in all IVF cycles, so I will most likely be required to take this in addition to another FSH drug.
*derived from the pee of Russian and Chinese women (and no, I'm not just trying to be funny, it's true!)
*"B" is the cheapest of the four!
So Berilac and I have decided that we prefer B&M ...
need to use the M anyway, so if the two go together, where's the decision? (it's pretty obvious). So the sad part is - I don't get to use the easy, nifty pen applicators - so I'll look like a street druggy if I'm ever forced to take my evening shot in public (like in a case when I'm not at home between 7-9pm, b/c we're actually out LIVING a life!)
So the BEST part about these drugs - is that they are subcutaneous (Sub-Q) ... meaning they get injected into the inch I can pinch on my tummy. The drugs just go into your skin. They suggested that over the many days of injects we migrate to various parts of the stomach area - but not to get too close to the belly button - yikes, that just sounds creepy! The nurse had each couple that was in the class set up with swag (many a free goodies) to take home including vials, needles, syringes, icepacks, DVDs, carrying cases, etc. But my favorite was the silicon block (stamped with expected company logo's) that we were given ... this is what we used to practice with (yay, I wasn't the pin cushion!) So we enjoyed injecting the drug into the cube, then trying with all of our might to SQUEEZE the liquid back out of it (… not paying attention to what the nurse was saying, because hey that's boring and it's only my skin at stake!)
During the class I was all about asking about the intramuscular (IM) shots that's Berilac would be giving me ... the nurse thought I was a glutton for punishment as (I guess) the Saturday session we were in was created to teach about sub-q injects NOT IM injects ... um hello? You're going to spend 2 hours showing me how to prick myself with a 1/2 inch needle, but we'll just postpone the ever so casual event of handing Berilac a one and one half inch needle to shove deep into my ham hocks! Yeah, that sounds right! We then learned that we get our one-on-one 30 minute training session with a Dr the day before Berilac is to give me the shot ... and during that session ... he gets to actually inject me with saline, so that they verify that he's doing it right ... once I learned this … I was less excited to get moving on the IM training session ... nursy, nurse - take your sweet old time! (on a side note: no, that picture is not of me, I did blog-lift it from a fellow fun (and immodest!) infertile)