Pill Treats Painful Fibroids
Unlike Surgery, Morning-After Pill Can Reduce Fibroid Size, Bleeding Without Affecting Fertility
Doctors Welcome New Fibroid Treatment
The new drug is widely used for emergency contraception in Europe, says Bruce Rosenzweig, MD, an assistant professor in the department of obstetrics and gynecology at Rush Medical College in Chicago.
But, he says, the more interesting use of the new drug is to reduce the heavy and irregular menstrual bleeding associated with fibroids.
“It looks like this (reduction in bleeding) will be a more important outcome for this drug than shrinking the size of the fibroid,” he says. As of now, the only medication that may shrink fibroids is a drug called Lupron, which basically shuts down the production of sex hormones that feed fibroids and causes premature menopause.
“Lupron comes with a fairly hefty price tag of menopausal symptoms that decreases its long-term utility,” he tells WebMD. “We use it to manage women who have fibroids who don’t want surgery,” he says.
“It is nice to see something besides just Lupron added to our armamentarium to try to treat the fibroid without surgery,” he says.
Jay Fisher, MD, an obstetrician/gynecologist at the William Beaumont Hospital in Royal Oak, Mich., is excited about the possibility of a new drug to treat fibroids.
“We haven’t found anything that shows this kind of result outside of surgery, and we are always looking for new tools to treat fibroids -- especially for women who wish to avoid or are not candidates for surgery and want to maintain their fertility,” Fisher tells WebMD.
Uterine fibroid embolization, which basically blocks the arteries that provide blood flow to the fibroid, causing it to shrink, is another option to treat fibroids, but it may also affect fertility, he says.