Jan. 14, 2004 -- High doses of a drug commonly used to treat osteoporosis may help stop the growth of uterine fibroids and offer a new alternative treatment for premenopausal women with the condition.
Up to 40% of women have uterine fibroids, which are abnormal growths on the wall of the uterus. In some women, uterine fibroids can lead to pain, irregular bleeding, urinary problems, and possibly infertility.
Birth control pills can help with the pain and bleeding, but treatment options for premenopausal women with the condition are otherwise limited. Hysterectomy is the only treatment that can effectively put an end to uterine fibroids.
Evista Stops Fibroids
The study, published in the January issue of the journal Fertility and Sterility, tested the safety and effectiveness of a high dose of Evista (180 milligrams per day) vs. no treatment in 25 premenopausal women.
After three months of treatment researchers found that treatment with Evista stopped the growth of uterine fibroids. Compared with no medical treatment, women who took Evista experienced a decrease in fibroid size of about 22%. The drug was well tolerated and no significant side effects were reported.
Evista is part of a class of drugs known as SERMs (selective estrogen receptor modulators). While Evista acts similarly to estrogen in certain parts of the body -- such as fighting osteoporosis by helping to prevent bone loss -- the drug blocks estrogen in other parts of the body, such as the uterus.
The reduction in uterine fibroid size found with Evista was slightly less than found with other drugs currently used to shrink fibroids, such as gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH) agonists.