Fri | Jul 20, 2018

Medimpex launches new oral treatment for uterine fibroids

Published:Wednesday | May 18, 2016 | 12:02 AM

Uterine fibroids are a common medical issue, especially among Jamaican women. It has been said that as many as 80 per cent of Jamaican women have fibroids but only 25 per cent are aware of any symptoms.

Fibroids usually arise between ages 30 and 50, but younger and younger women are now being afflicted. The problem should be tackled as early as possible, especially in women who intend to start a family. Black women who adopt a Western diet and lifestyle are twice as likely as Caucasian or Asian women to have fibroids.

In May 2015, Medimpex Jamaica Limited introduced Esmya five-mg Tablets to the Jamaican market. It is now available in pharmacies islandwide and can be supplied in accordance with prescriptions from obstetricians and gynaecologists only. The active ingredient is ulipristal acetate and it is indicated for the pre-operative and intermittent treatment of the moderate to severe symptoms of uterine fibroids in adult women of reproductive age.

It is the only oral treatment available in Jamaica for uterine fibroids and is from a unique drug class known as selective progesterone receptor modulators (SPRM).

The drug exerts its action at three levels:

* Direct action on the endometrium to rapidly control heavy menstrual bleeding

* Direct action on the fibroid to reduce fibroid size and pain by acting directly on the fibroid inducing cell death and inhibiting cell growth

* Action at the level of the pituitary to inhibit ovulation

Esmya is dosed as one tablet taken orally once daily for three months, starting during the first week of the menstrual cycle. If required, this three-month treatment may be repeated intermittently with the physician's special instruction.

The advantages of Esmya are as follows:

* Convenient once daily oral dose

* It has been shown to reduce the largest fibroid by as much as 50 per cent, thereby offering patients the opportunity to seek less invasive surgical procedures if needed

* Reduces pain

* Rapidly stops bleeding within a week of treatment

* Controls the anaemia associated with excessive blood loss

* It has a superior tolerability profile when compared to other treatment options with little or no menopause side effects

* Well tolerated

* In a majority of patients a single three-month course of Esmya provides symptomatic relief that is maintained for at least six months post treatment

* Improves patient confidence

* Improves overall quality of life

Esmya is covered on Sagicor and Medecushealth insurance but fibroids are not yet covered on the National Health Fund.