Uterine fibroids are non-cancerous and harmless growths in the uterus walls. However, they can sometimes cause pain in the uterus or excessive bleeding every month. In such cases, women may need to remove these uterine fibroids or get treatment with the help of medication.
Researchers recently developed a combined drug for women with this condition which also provides an alternative to surgery. This drug consists of progestin combined with estrogen, and currently under the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) review.
Usually, women go for surgical removal of the entire uterus, also known as hysterectomy. However, the women who do not want to undergo a surgical procedure or wish to get pregnant need an alternative. Even though there is a surgical method to remove uterine fibroids without harming the uterus, fibroids usually come back again.
Uterine fibroids are extremely common among women and more common among black women. Most fibroids disappear after menopause due to low estrogen levels. This hormone helps increase their growth and the deficiency automatically diminishes them. However, the women who experience symptoms such as pain and excessive bleeding need a hysterectomy.
Dr. Ayman Al-Hendy is the lead researcher of the trial of this new medication. He mentioned that nearly 600,000 women in the US go through a hysterectomy every year. Also, most of these surgeries are to remove uterine fibroids.
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Al-Hendy along with his fellow researchers conducted this trial which included 770 women. These women belonged to different nations including the US. All of these women experienced heavy bleeding due to the fibroids in the uterus. The researchers assigned the women a placebo and the drug combination randomly. These women took this medication for a span of six months.
The findings of this research appeared in the New England Journal of Medicine.
After the specified period, the researchers found that 70% of the women experienced less bleeding during their period. Al-Hendy mentioned that this drug combination can help those women who want to stay fertile. Also, the drug used in this trial does not affect the bone density of the women. The drug, Relugolix is not yet approved in the US and currently under consideration of the US. Meanwhile, the doctors are hopeful that this drug can help provide an alternative to the traditional hysterectomy.
The researchers believe that they will need long-term trials to study the side effects and benefits of this drug. However, they currently have a positive pathway to help women with fibroids. This condition affects a vast diversity of women. It can decrease their quality of life and make menstruation severely painful for them. Meanwhile, the option to remove uterine fibroids is also not feasible for most women who want to get pregnant in the future.
According to the researchers, this medication can also give short-term benefits to women who want to get pregnant. Later on, they can discontinue the medication and go for a hysterectomy if they wish to. Meanwhile, this is a viable option for the time being without any apparent side effects. The researchers also mentioned that this daily medication can become costly for those who do not have high medical coverage in their health insurance.