Possible New Drug Treatment

If you are suffering from fibroids, but are reluctant to have surgical treatment, you may now have another choice to discuss with your doctor. The latest research, published in the journal Human Pathology, has discovered that a drug used for early termination of pregnancy, mifepristone, (Mifeprex or RU486) commonly known as the 'abortion pill' can actually help shrink fibroids.

Research

Mifepristone is in a category of drugs called progesterone receptor modulators or PRM, which block the way progesterone works in the body. This is why in high doses it can give an early abortion. Research has shown that progesterone also plays a role in the formation of fibroids. A study carried out in the United States through the University of Rochester Medical Center over the last six years showed that this drug helped improve the life of women with fibroids. Women who took part in the trial took very low doses of the drug, (2.5 mg or 5 mg) over an eighteen-month period. During that period their fibroids shrank. Further research is necessary to find out optimum doses and treatment levels. It's not known at this stage how long the fibroids will stay shrunk.

Concerns

One of the concerns of the study was whether mifepristone could cause pre-cancerous cells to appear. However, other research shows that this drug could be useful in preventing some cancers and so far this research shows that while the endometrial tissue or lining in the womb does change, it only produces benign cysts, which can be easily monitored.

Other PRM Studies

Another study using ulipristal acetate (UPA) which is a different selective PRM (SPRM) also shows that this type of drug treatment can be effective for women with fibroids. This research conducted by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) in Maryland, USA found that women taking a higher dose of UPA, 20mg a day did better than those taking a lower 10mg dose. The results of the trial were presented to the European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology in Rome in July 2010. Dr. Lynnette Nieman the principal investigator involved said in 2010 "(we) conclude that UPA is an effective non-invasive treatment for fibroids that can help maintain fertility in women". Further trials are underway to confirm results and see whether this drug can be licensed for treating fibroids.

Trials

If you are suffering from fibroids, why not see if there are any medical trials available that you could participate in. As medical drug trials require testing against a placebo (inert substance) if you are selected as a test subject you may be selected for the control group and may not benefit personally from participating in a trial. There are also risks in taking part in a medical trial, for example, you may have an adverse reaction to the drug and have serious side effects. Before agreeing to participate make sure you understand the risks involved. Ask your GP or gynecologist for further information.

Support Group

If you suffer from severe fibroids, you may want to join a support group which is run by the British Fibroid Trust and is organised through Guy's Hospital in London. The trust also aims to keep sufferers up to date with all the latest research and medical trials.

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