Down with fibroids, up with UPA

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Soon there may be relief for women suffering from uterine fibroids. A new, effective and non-surgical treatment can help generally with the fibroids and also help maintain women’s fertility. Dr. Alicia Armstrong, Chief/Gynocological Services, National Institutes of Health, Maryland said at the ESHRE meeting that the results of two Phase II trial of UPA (ulipristal acetate) had significant impact on both infertility and general gynecological health of women ailing from uterine fibroids.

UPA is part of a relatively new class of drug, the selective progesterone receptor modulators or SPRMs for people who like catchy acronyms. SPRMs are commonly used in emergency contraception like Plan B and acts by blocking the progesterone receptor and stopping ovulation.

“Both fibroids and the surgical interventions commonly used to treat them can cause significant fertility problems,” Dr. Armstrong said, “ and we wanted to see whether fibroids could shrink and surgery could be avoided by using an SPRM.”

Results from the tests are promising. It was a randomized, placebo-controlled, double-blind study performed at NIH. In the trials, women between the ages of 25 and 50 with symptomatic uterine fibroids received two levels of UPA or placebo for three menstrual cycles. Out of the 57 patients who were analyzed, 18 received placebo, 20 received 10mg of UPA daily and 19 received 20mg of UPA per day. Those taking the drug had reduced fibroid volume, with those taking the higher dose, reduction was greater.

UPA also reduced bleeding and at the end of treatment, patients reported higher quality of life scores, a reduction in the severity of their symptoms, increased energy levels and elevated mood. The action of the ovaries was not impaired and there were no serious side effects.

“The results of these trials are convincing and lead us to conclude that UPA is an effective non-invasive treatment for fibroids that can help maintain fertility in women whose only option up to now was to have surgery,” said Dr. Lynnette Nieman, Principal Investigator on the NIH trials. “We hope that the results from these trials, along with those from the Phase III trials currently being conducted by the Swiss company PregLem SA, will allow us to offer this treatment to women who do not want surgery or are unable to have it for medical reasons.”

Source: Medical News Today


 
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