A recent study suggests that raloxifene, a prescription drug most commonly used to treat osteoporosis in post-menopausal women, may also be useful in addressing fibroids. A report published by a team of researchers at the University of Vienna in Austria suggests that raloxifene reduces the size of fibroids while causing fewer side effects than hormone treatment, the more common drug therapy.
|Do not take raloxifene if:|
You are pregnant or may become pregnant
You will be immobile for a long time
You currently have blood clots or have had them in the past
You have liver disease or are allergic to raloxifene or any of the ingredients found in raloxifene
The Austrian research team, led by Dr. Stefan Jirecek, performed the study on a group of 23 women, all of whom were pre-menopausal and had asymptomatic fibroids. Twelve of the women were placed in a control group, receiving no treatment, while the other 11 received raloxifene. Three months later, the fibroids in the women who received raloxifene were 9.1 percent smaller than they had been at the beginning of the study, while the fibroids in the women in the control group had increased in size by 13.1 percent—a total, or "absolute," difference of 22.2 percent.
Moreover, as predicted, the researchers found that the drug had few side effects. Many drugs currently used to treat fibroids belong to a class of drugs known as "GnRH agonists," which interact directly with hormones and may have side effects such as bone loss. In the Austrian study, however, only one woman of the 11 experienced hot flashes, and the researchers reported no serious side effects or significant changes in the women’s hormone levels.
Raloxifene is generally recommended for post-menopausal women. Used as a treatment for osteoporosis, it is generally safe but has been shown to cause blood clots in a small percentage of patients. While the drug has not yet been specifically approved for use in the treatment of fibroids, the findings of Dr. Jirecek and colleagues suggest that a new drug therapy for fibroids may be on the horizon.