How do medications treat uterine fibroids?

Kord T. Strebel, MD
OBGYN (Obstetrics & Gynecology)
Fibroids can be treated with medications including Lupron, says Kord Strebel, MD, an OB/GYN at Sunrise Hospital. In this video, he talks about how these medications work to reduce the size of fibroids. 
The three most common medications used to treat fibroids are the following:
  • Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications (ex. ibuprofen). These help to reduce pain and bleeding. In, 2009, tranexamic acid was FDA approved as the first non-hormonal drug cleared for treating heavy menstrual bleeding. It has some specific effects on the uterine lining that results in more effective control of bleeding over other NSAIDs. Tranexamic acid is given only for the heavy bleeding days (up to 5) each month.
  • Oral Contraceptive Pills: Work to decrease bleeding through thinning uterine lining. Can stimulate fibroid growth and therefore may only be helpful for the short-term.
  • Gonadotropin-releasing hormone agonist (ex. Leuprolide aka Lupron): Suppresses ovarian function and induces a temporary menopausal state. Will shrink fibroids prior to surgery but can only be given for up to 6 months (usually given only 3) due to significant bone loss. Most women on Lupron get significant hot flashes which can make compliance difficult. If no surgery is performed, all of the Lupron effects wear off and the fibroids return to their original size.

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