Friday, November 25, 2016

My experience with Neupogen

When I first started treatment almost 10 months ago, there was a lady also cycling then and she mentioned that she would be trying neupogen to increase her chances of success-beyond her, I've yet to meet anyone else who has used neupogen.  So I want to dedicate a post all to my experience, how it works, and side effects.  

For starters, this medication isn't cheap! I was told I would need two doses-the first one four days prior to the transfer, and then another one the day before. Each dose is  $300, so after all is said and done, expect to pay about $720.  I was told it was not covered by insurance, however I was pleasantly surprised, and I ended up only paying a $45 co-pay.  I never spoke with insurance, just the pharmacy and I have no idea why I was told it wasn't covered initially and then it was, mistake or not, I got lucky! 

Neupogen is classically given to patients undergoing chemotherapy to help increase white blood cell production.  Some common side effects are fever, bone or muscle pain, headache, nosebleeds, and more. When I mentioned these to my doctor he told me he had only had one patient complain of flu like symptoms.  In chemo patients the neupogen is delivered by an injection and therefore enters the blood stream.  In this case, it was injected straight into the uterus and therefore does not directly enter the blood stream, so side effects are much less common.  

My first dose of Neupogen was slightly complicated, but overall the administration went ok.  That was done on Monday, and throughout the week I kept commenting that I felt pretty bloated or crampy and I hand't ever felt like that before any other transfer. But, as we all know, past experiences don't dictate future experiences and this time, it could within reason to have more side effects.  My second dose was on Thursday, the day before the transfer, and that went much smoother.  The reason the first attempt was challenging was because I had already started my vaginal suppositories and that was blocking Dr. B's view of the cervix.  I made the executive decision not to put it in the night before, ensuring a clear view the next morning.  In less than a minute, the injection was done and I was on my way.  

Now, there's no way to know why I had a horrible day and night following the second neupogen injection.  I don't know if it was random, or related to the neupogen.  Throughout the day I had horrible constant back pain.  I also developed a headache later in the afternoon.  By 9pm I was exhausted and fell asleep around 11pm.  Around 3am I woke up with such intense stomach pain I have never felt before.  I wasn't nauseous and didn't feel like I needed to go to the bathroom, but I was in tears, and couldn't get comfortable.  At this time, I called my husband to ask him what he thought, but he didn't answer.  #Iwonderwhy I actually contemplated calling my doctor because I was so afraid I was experiencing some freak side effect!  I decided that if I didn't feel better around 7am, I would call him and hope I could get to them before they thawed the embryo and I would go to the hospital instead of the transfer. I ended up falling asleep around 5am, and woke up at 7am to get ready for the day.  I felt a lot better, but still had nagging stomach pain. 

When I arrived at the transfer I spoke to the nurse, and she said people have complained of a headache.  When I mentioned how much pain and cramping I seemed to be having Dr. B seemed genuinely concerned and insisted I would get the Progesterone in Oil (PIO) before I left to help calm the uterus.  Although, when the nurse went to give me the PIO shot, she mentioned that my shots are way too low on my butt, as oppose to near my hip, and because a nerve runs there, that could have been why I was experiencing back pain. Since that PIO shot, I've had no back pain!  My cramping has also completely quieted down.  

If I were to give suggestions to anyone going through this: I would say to make sure you stay hydrated and eat well on the days of your injection; make sure to drink plenty of water and possibly take some preventative Tylenol-just be sure to confirm with your doctor!  If I should have to go through this again, it will be interested to compare symptoms, if they're are any.  

Please pass this post along to anyone who is planning on using neupogen before a transfer, or let me know if you have any questions!  

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