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      Uterine fibroids: an update on current and emerging medical treatment options

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          Abstract

          Uterine fibroids are the most common gynecological disorder, classically requiring surgery when symptomatic. Although attempts at finding a nonsurgical cure date back to centuries, it is only around the middle of the last century that serious attempts at a medical treatment were carried out. Initially, both progestins and estrogen–progestin combinations have been utilized, although proof of their usefulness is lacking. A major step forward was achieved when peptide analogs of the GnRH were introduced, first those with superagonist properties and subsequently those acting as antagonists. Initially, the latter produced side effects preventing their routine utilization; eventually, this problem was overcome following the synthesis of cetrorelix. Because both types of analogs produce hypoestrogenism, their use is limited to a maximum of 6 months and, for this reason, today they are utilized as an adjuvant treatment before surgery with overall good results. Over the last decade, new, nonpeptidic, orally active GnRH-receptor blockers have also been synthesized. One of them, Elagolix, is in the early stages of testing in women with fibroids. Another fundamental development has been the utilization of the so-called selective progesterone receptor modulators, sometimes referred to as “antiprogestins”. The first such compound to be applied to the long-term treatment of fibroids was Mifepristone; today, this compound is mostly used outside of Western Countries, where the substance of choice is Ulipristal acetate. Large clinical trials have proven the effectiveness of Ulipristal in the long-term medical therapy of fibroids, although some caution must be exercised because of the rare occurrence of liver complications. All selective progesterone receptor modulators produce unique endometrial changes that are today considered benign, reversible, and without negative consequences. In conclusion, long-term medical treatment of fibroids seems possible today, especially in premenopausal women.

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          Ulipristal acetate versus placebo for fibroid treatment before surgery.

          The efficacy and safety of oral ulipristal acetate for the treatment of symptomatic uterine fibroids before surgery are uncertain. We randomly assigned women with symptomatic fibroids, excessive uterine bleeding (a score of >100 on the pictorial blood-loss assessment chart [PBAC, an objective assessment of blood loss, in which monthly scores range from 0 to >500, with higher numbers indicating more bleeding]) and anemia (hemoglobin level of ≤10.2 g per deciliter) to receive treatment for up to 13 weeks with oral ulipristal acetate at a dose of 5 mg per day (96 women) or 10 mg per day (98 women) or to receive placebo (48 women). All patients received iron supplementation. The coprimary efficacy end points were control of uterine bleeding (PBAC score of <75) and reduction of fibroid volume at week 13, after which patients could undergo surgery. At 13 weeks, uterine bleeding was controlled in 91% of the women receiving 5 mg of ulipristal acetate, 92% of those receiving 10 mg of ulipristal acetate, and 19% of those receiving placebo (P<0.001 for the comparison of each dose of ulipristal acetate with placebo). The rates of amenorrhea were 73%, 82%, and 6%, respectively, with amenorrhea occurring within 10 days in the majority of patients receiving ulipristal acetate. The median changes in total fibroid volume were -21%, -12%, and +3% (P=0.002 for the comparison of 5 mg of ulipristal acetate with placebo, and P=0.006 for the comparison of 10 mg of ulipristal acetate with placebo). Ulipristal acetate induced benign histologic endometrial changes that had resolved by 6 months after the end of therapy. Serious adverse events occurred in one patient during treatment with 10 mg of ulipristal acetate (uterine hemorrhage) and in one patient during receipt of placebo (fibroid protruding through the cervix). Headache and breast tenderness were the most common adverse events associated with ulipristal acetate but did not occur significantly more frequently than with placebo. Treatment with ulipristal acetate for 13 weeks effectively controlled excessive bleeding due to uterine fibroids and reduced the size of the fibroids. (Funded by PregLem; ClinicalTrials.gov number, NCT00755755.).
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            Ulipristal acetate versus leuprolide acetate for uterine fibroids.

            The efficacy and side-effect profile of ulipristal acetate as compared with those of leuprolide acetate for the treatment of symptomatic uterine fibroids before surgery are unclear. In this double-blind noninferiority trial, we randomly assigned 307 patients with symptomatic fibroids and excessive uterine bleeding to receive 3 months of daily therapy with oral ulipristal acetate (at a dose of either 5 mg or 10 mg) or once-monthly intramuscular injections of leuprolide acetate (at a dose of 3.75 mg). The primary outcome was the proportion of patients with controlled bleeding at week 13, with a prespecified noninferiority margin of -20%. Uterine bleeding was controlled in 90% of patients receiving 5 mg of ulipristal acetate, in 98% of those receiving 10 mg of ulipristal acetate, and in 89% of those receiving leuprolide acetate, for differences (as compared with leuprolide acetate) of 1.2 percentage points (95% confidence interval [CI], -9.3 to 11.8) for 5 mg of ulipristal acetate and 8.8 percentage points (95% CI, 0.4 to 18.3) for 10 mg of ulipristal acetate. Median times to amenorrhea were 7 days for patients receiving 5 mg of ulipristal acetate, 5 days for those receiving 10 mg of ulipristal acetate, and 21 days for those receiving leuprolide acetate. Moderate-to-severe hot flashes were reported for 11% of patients receiving 5 mg of ulipristal acetate, for 10% of those receiving 10 mg of ulipristal acetate, and for 40% of those receiving leuprolide acetate (P<0.001 for each dose of ulipristal acetate vs. leuprolide acetate). Both the 5-mg and 10-mg daily doses of ulipristal acetate were noninferior to once-monthly leuprolide acetate in controlling uterine bleeding and were significantly less likely to cause hot flashes. (Funded by PregLem; ClinicalTrials.gov number, NCT00740831.).
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              Long-term treatment of uterine fibroids with ulipristal acetate ☆.

              To investigate the efficacy and safety of ulipristal acetate (UPA) for long-term treatment of symptomatic uterine fibroids.
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                Author and article information

                Journal
                Ther Clin Risk Manag
                Ther Clin Risk Manag
                Therapeutics and Clinical Risk Management
                Therapeutics and Clinical Risk Management
                Dove Medical Press
                1176-6336
                1178-203X
                2019
                23 January 2019
                : 15
                : 157-178
                Affiliations
                [1 ]Department of Gynecology, Obstetrics and Urology, Sapienza, University of Rome, Rome, Italy, manuela.farris@ 123456uniroma1.it
                [2 ]The Italian Association for Demographic Education, Rome, Italy, manuela.farris@ 123456uniroma1.it
                [3 ]Faculty of Medicine, KU Leuven, Leuven, Belgium
                Author notes
                Correspondence: Manuela Farris, Sapienza, University of Rome, Via Toscana 30, 00187 Rome, Italy, Email manuela.farris@ 123456uniroma1.it
                Article
                tcrm-15-157
                10.2147/TCRM.S147318
                6350833
                © 2019 Farris et al. This work is published and licensed by Dove Medical Press Limited

                The full terms of this license are available at https://www.dovepress.com/terms.php and incorporate the Creative Commons Attribution – Non Commercial (unported, v3.0) License ( http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/3.0/). By accessing the work you hereby accept the Terms. Non-commercial uses of the work are permitted without any further permission from Dove Medical Press Limited, provided the work is properly attributed.

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