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In the News

Investigation Into New Treatment For Endometriosis Yields Promising Results

February 24, 2004
American Society for Reproductive Medicine

Endometriosis is a painful, sometimes debilitating condition, in which tissue of the uterine lining grows outside the uterus. It affects 10% of reproductive age women. The disease is estrogen-dependent so treatments attempt to either reduce a patient's levels of estrogen or inhibit estrogen's effects.

In a small pilot study at the University of Illinois in Chicago, 10 patients suffering from endometriosis were treated with letrozole, an aromatase inhibitor highly effective in suppressing estrogen production.

The pre-menopausal patients, whose past treatments had failed to relieve their pain, had their endometriosis confirmed by laparoscopic examination. Once a month the patients underwent a pelvic exam to check their uterus, ovaries and sensitivity to pain. In addition, they kept diaries of their daily experience of pain, scored on a scale, and vaginal bleeding over the course of the study. Once the drug treatment concluded, they underwent a second laparoscopic exam.

After six months of treatment with letrozole, nine out of 10 patients' pain scores had dropped significantly and all patients' post-treatment laparoscopic biopsy results were negative for endometriosis. Bone density evaluations made before the study and repeated after its completion showed no bone loss.

(Ailawadi et al, Treatment of endometriosis and chronic pelvic pain with letrozole and norethindrone acetate: a pilot study, Fertility and Sterility, Vol.81, No.2, February 2004.)

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