The information provided here is meant to give you a general idea about each of the medications listed below. Only the most general side effects are included, so ask your doctor if you need to take any special precautions. Use each of these medications as recommended by your doctor, or according to the instructions provided. If you have further questions about usage or side effects, contact your doctor.
Direct treatment of fibroids attempts either to shrink them or to reduce the bleeding they cause.
These drug therapies are used to treat the symptoms without curing the problem.
Progestins are one of the active ingredients in birth control pills. They reduce menstrual blood flow by altering the hormonal balance of the body in a fashion similar to pregnancy. Norethindrone is given 2.5-10 milligrams per day by mouth for 5-10 days each menstrual cycle.
Megestrol is given 10-20 milligrams per day by mouth for 10-14 days each menstrual cycle.
Medroxyprogesterone is given 5-10 milligrams per day by mouth for 10-14 days each menstrual cycle or 150 mg by injection every three months. The long-acting shots are usually used after a trial of pills, in case the side effects prove uncomfortable.
Possible side effects include:
Damage to early pregnancy—Not recommended for the first four months of a pregnancy.
is an estrogen-blocking agent. Because fibroids sometimes depend on the presence of estrogen to help grow or maintain themselves, blocking estrogen may stop growth or even shrink fibroid tumors. It has the additional benefit of helping to maintain bone density.
Possible side effects include:
Rarely, blood clots in the legs, lungs, or eyes
Fadrozole is an aromatase-inhibitor. Aromatase-inhibitors interfere with a crucial step in estrogen’s synthesis in the body, thus decreasing the amount of circulating estrogen. Deprived of estrogen, fibroids often shrink.
With long-term use, possible side effects include:
These drugs, which stimulate the production of estrogen and progesterone in the ovaries via the pituitary when present normally in low and changing amounts, have the opposite effect when given in higher, steady doses thereby largely eliminating the production of estrogen and progesterone. Their primary use is in other conditions, but they have proven effective in reducing the size of fibroids, usually in anticipation of surgery. They are given by injection, subdermal pellet (inserted under the skin), or nasal spray.
In addition to pain relief, NSAIDs can reduce menstrual flow by what appears to be a separate effect. Their most common side effect is stomach irritation. The newer and more expensive selective NSAIDs (celecoxib) are expected to produce fewer gastrointestinal problems.
Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care
provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a
substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER
IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the
advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to
starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a