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Non-Surgical Treatment Option for Uterine Fibroids

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Women suffering from uterine fibroids may soon be able to choose a non-surgical treatment. The conventional treatment for sever fibroids is laproscopic surgery.

Uterine fibroids are benign tumors in the uterus made up of muscle cells and tissue that grows within the wall of the uterus. Symptoms include pelvic pain, irregular and often heavy menstrual bleeding. Uterine fibroids are most common among women of child-bearing age and often subside once menopause is over. It is estimated that as many as 77 percent of these women may have uterine fibroids, as not all patients display symptoms. It is one of the major reasons women in the United States opt to have a hysterectomy.

Participants at the 26th Annual European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology were given an update on a clinical trial that has been studying the use of a new drug to treat fibroids. Dr. Alicia Armstrong, chief of Gynecolic Services from the National Institute of Health (NIH) Program in Reproductive and Adult Endocrinology in Bethesda, Md., delivered the latest findings from the Phase II study.

The study involved treating patients with ulipristal acetate (UPA). It is part of a group of drugs known as the selective progesterone receptor modulators (SPRMs) and is currently used as an emergency contraceptive for its ability to block the progesterone receptor and therefore ovulation. Research has revealed that progesterone plays an important role in the development of uterine fibroids.

The study involved 57 women aged between 25 and 50 years of age. The study was double-blinded, placebo controlled and randomized and conducted over three menstrual cycles. 18 women were given the placebo drug once a day, 20 received 10 mg of UPA per day and 19 were given 20 mg per day.

All those taking UPA had a marked reduction in the volume of fibroids and the women on the higher dosage did even better. Those taking the placebo did less well, with only 6 women showing a reduction.

All the women taking UPA had reduced bleeding. After the third month of treatment 80 percent of the patients taking 10 mg a day and 90 percent of those taking 20 mg a day experienced no menstrual bleeding at all.

It was also noted that those on the higher dose of UPA had an improved quality of life with more energy and improved mood.

“The results of these trials are convincing and lead us to the conclusion that UPA is an effective non-invasive treatment for fibroids that can help maintain fertility in women whose only option was to have surgery,” said Dr. Lynnette Nieman, lead investigator of the NIH study.

Phase III clinical trials are being held by Swiss company, PregLem SA.

Source: http://www.eshre.eu/ESHRE/English/Press-Room/Press-Releases/2010-Press-releases/Welcome/Press-releases-Rome/O-229/page.aspx/1076

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