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Mifepristone Reliable For Treating Uterine Fibroids

According to a study conducted by University of Rochester, Low doses of the drug mifepristone (also known as RU-486) shrinks the uterine fibroid tumors //and greatly improves the quality of life in women. The study results were published in the December issue of the journal, Obstetrics and Gynecology.

Leiomyoma, the medical term for uterine fibroids, affects roughly half of all women aged 35 to 49. The non-cancerous tumors cause iron-deficiency anemia due to excessive menstrual bleeding, and deeply impact the quality of life for women who have this condition. Thousands of women annually opt for hysterectomies or have the tumors removed surgically because no other medical treatment has been proven effective, the study said.

'With no approved treatment for symptomatic fibroids, this study and its findings are very significant,' said corresponding author Kevin Fiscella, M.D., M.P.H., of the Department of Family Medicine Research Program at the University of Rochester Medical Center. 'Interestingly, this is the same drug that was recently shown to prevent breast cancer in a rat model. Federal funding for research related to mifepristone should be given a high priority.'

Doctors have known from prior data that mifepristone, an antiprogestin, might help uterine fibroids. But the benefits had not been confirmed until now. The University of Rochester study is the first randomized, double blind, placebo-controlled trial of mifepristone, to establish that it can be safely used at low doses to treat uterine fibroids. Forty-two premenopausal women from western New York volunteered to participate in the clinical trial from March 2004 to March 2005.

Of the total, 22 women received mifepristone at 5 mg daily, and 20 women received an identical looking placebo pill daily, for six months. Doctors sought to evaluate physical changes as well as quality of life improvements. To assess the latter, they used a survey with a 100-point scale that as
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