Thanks so much to the Toronto Star for the great article on Fibristal, recently approved by Health Canada for the treatment of fibroids.
Here is a cut and paste of the article as well as a link!
New drug Fibristal attacks uterine fibroid tumours
Fibristal, approved early this month by Health Canada, shrinks fibroids and quickly stops the bleeding
Barbara Turnbull Living reporter, Published on Fri Aug 30 2013
For the first time, the benign tumours that cause heavy bleeding, pain, bloating and infertility in 30 per cent of women, can be treated with medication instead of surgery.
A fibroid is a ball of muscle within the uterus, which is also a muscle. The uterus starts forming balls and they grow. “If they grow and take up the entire thickness of the whole uterus, then it takes major surgery to either remove the fibroids or remove the whole uterus,” says Dr. Guylaine Lefebvre, chief of Obstetrics and Gynecology at St. Michael’s Hospital.
Fibristal, approved early this month by Health Canada, shrinks fibroids and quickly stops the bleeding — which is often heavy enough to cause severe anemia. The drug has the potential to save thousands of women from surgery, as fibroids are the leading cause of hysterectomies. About 25 per cent of women with fibroids require treatment.
“It’s a completely new classification,” Lefebvre says. “And it seems to target fibroids directly, where it stops it from growing and at the same time it stops the uterus from bleeding.”
The drug, a pill taken once a day, is prescribed for women who still menstruate and have symptoms severe enough to consider treatment. The drug has been used in Europe for 18 months. There isn’t 10-year data yet, Lefebvre says, so as a precaution, the drug is currently only prescribed for three months. The medication costs $350 a month.
After that, if surgical intervention is still needed, it’s likely to be a less invasive procedure with fewer possible complications, she says. “One of the major benefits to this is that it works within a couple of days in stopping the bleeding. We haven’t had anything yet that has worked this quickly.”
Not all fibroids grow large enough to cause problems, Lefebvre says, but some women lose half the blood they should be carrying in their body.
Holly Bridges knows what that’s about. The Toronto native, now Ottawa resident, wrote The Unhysterectomy in 2010 after suffering from fibroids and being told a hysterectomy was her only option. She rejected that advice and had two less-invasive procedures, called a hysteroscopic myomectomy and hysteroscopic endometrial ablation.
Bridges devotes herself to patient advocacy about fibroids, coaching women at her website and blogging about alternatives to major surgery.
“Any new tool in the toolbox is a good thing for women suffering from fibroids,” Bridges says.
Lefebvre has already prescribed Fibristal to some patients. “For all those women who want to avoid surgery, it can become an alternative,” she says.