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Human Chorionic Gonadotropin Injections Side Effects & Indications

What is HCG?

Human Chorionic Gonadotropin is a hormone produced during pregnancy. It is a glycoprotein that is formed by the embryo early at pregnancy and by the syncytiotrophoblast of the placenta at the later stages. HCG can be measured in the blood and urine of a pregnant woman 2 weeks after the fertilization of the egg and lasts until the first trimester of pregnancy. The HCG in the blood and urine serves as the basis for pregnancy tests.

HCG has been used as a medication for various conditions. It is available in the form of drops or injections. However, the Food and Drug Administration has banned and prohibited the use of over the counter and homeopathic HCG for human use.

Functions and Advantages of HCG

Human Chorionic Gonadrotopin is responsible for the production of progesterone by the corpus luteum during early pregnancy. The presence of progesterone maintains the growth and sustenance of pregnancy because it enhances the blood supply of the uterus for the growth of the fetus. HCG also protects the fetus from the immune cells of the mother. HCG is also responsible for nausea and vomiting on the first trimester.

Since the effects of HCG are similar to luteinizing hormone, it has been used clinically to stimulate ovulation and production of testosterone. HCG is also responsible for possible cellular differentiation and apoptosis (cell death), linking HCG to some forms of cancer.

HCG is derived from the urine of pregnant women and used in treatment of fertility. However, advanced technology has led to the production of HCG by recombinant DNA technology. Available legal preparations of HCG are products such as Follutein, Pregnyl, Choragon, Profasi, Novarel, and Ovidrel.

Indications of HCG injections

Indications of HCG include:

  • Ovulation Inducer in women

HCG is used as a management for infertility caused by absence of ovulation. HCG acts as luteinizing hormone that stimulates the ovaries to produce egg cells.

  • Fertility treatment in men

HCG is also given to men in order to stimulate production of testosterone. Testosterone on the other hand enhances spermatogenesis or the production of sperm cells.

  • Hypogonadism

Human Chorionic Gonadotropin injection is given to treat hypogonadism in men and women resulting to testosterone production and ovulation.

Other fraudulent use of HCG injection

HCG has been controversial in addressing obesity because some proponents have cited that HCG decreases fat deposits and increases lean muscle mass. Some homeopathic HCG preparations are given to enhance weight loss, coupled by a 500 caloric diet. However, this indication is not accepted medically since HCG has not been scientifically proven to induce weight loss. In addition, some homeopathic and over the counter preparations of HCG injections have little or no amount of HCG. The FDA has prohibited these HCG preparations since 2011 and considers HCG drugs as illegal. It has also been illegally used as an adjunct to anabolic steroids among athletes.


Human Chorionic Gonadotropin injection is contraindicated among women with thrombosis and obesity because of HCG injection side-effects of thromboembolic cases. It is contraindicated in hypertension, heart failure, epilepsy, migraine and renal failure because of increase androgen production that may lead to aggravation of the said conditions as HCG injection side-effects. It is also used cautiously in pre-pubertal ages because of possible early epyphyseal closure and precocious sexual development. It is strictly contraindicated among individuals with cancer and hypersensitivity to the drug.

HCG injections Side-effects

Ectopic pregnancy as HCG injections side-effects

Infertility among women is usually caused by a constriction in the fallopian tubes. Stimulating egg cell production by HCG may lead to HCG injections side-effects such as fertilization and implantation of the embryo in the fallopian tubes. This can be managed by ruling out fallopian tube disorders before starting fertility treatment with HCG.

Multiple Pregnancy as HCG injections side-effects

The presence of triplets, twins and quadruplets may be HCG injection side-effects. The stimulation of the ovaries may be overly stimulated which can produce two or more egg cells at a time leading to multiple pregnancies as HCG injection side-effects. Prevention includes administration of HCG injection as per individual dosage to prevent hyper stimulation of the ovaries. Multiple pregnancies should also be detected early to prevent premature delivery and fetal distress.

Short Stature among adolescence as HCG injections side-effects

HCG injections when given among preadolescent individuals may lead to early closure of the epyphyseal plates which are responsible for the longitudinal growth of the bones. This eventually leads to HCG injection side-effects such as short stature or underdevelopment of the skeletal muscles. This can be managed through avoidance of using it in pre-adolescents.

Loss of appetite as HCG injections side-effects

HCG injection side-effects also include appetite loss. HCG is thought to act on the satiety center of the brain leading to early satiety and reduction in food intake as HCG injection side-effects. Loss of appetite may be managed through increasing the appeal of foods and eating small frequent meals.

Pregnancy symptoms as HCG injections side-effects.

HCG is responsible for major symptoms of pregnancy during the first trimester such as morning sickness. Administering HCG injections may also lead to similar symptoms as HCG injections side-effects such as nausea, headache, water retention, breast tissue tenderness, irritability, and mood changes. Nausea and headache may be managed by not getting out of bed suddenly. Water retention may be prevented by preventing high salt diet to prevent further retention of water.

Early secondary sex characteristics development as HCG injections side-effects

When HCG injections are given among pre-adolescents, it causes early puberty leading to deepening of voice, growth of axillary and pubic hair and increased oil formation. Increased number of acne as HCG injection side-effects.

HCG increases the production of oil by the sebaceous glands leading to acne formation. This HCG side-effect may affect the body image of the patient; however, it can be managed through various topical anti-inflammatory or anti-acne creams.

Despite these HCG injection side-effects, HCG is still beneficial in the treatment of infertility. HCG injections should only be administered to legal indications. Use as a weight loss treatment and as an anabolic steroid enhancer is illegal and should not be practiced. The use of HCG injections should be monitored to prevent HCG injection side-effects.

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