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  • Women Who Suffer From Endometriosis May Find Relief In This Progestin Drug

    Endometriosis causes painful menstruation and can lead to fertility problems.
    by Kate Borbon .
Women Who Suffer From Endometriosis May Find Relief In This Progestin Drug
PHOTO BY iStock
  • According to a recent study, the medication dienogest may be effective in reducing endometriosis-associated pelvic pain and improving health-related quality of life for women dealing with this disease.

    The Mayo Clinic defines endometriosis as a disorder where tissue similar to the tissues lining the inside the uterus (the endometrium) grow outside the uterus, such as in the ovaries and fallopian tubes. Endometriosis causes painful menstruation and can lead to fertility problems.

    There is no cure for endometriosis and treatment like dienogest aims to relieve the symptoms on ednometriosis, slow its growth, improve fertility, or prevent the disease from coming back after successful treatment. Progestin medication like dienogest is said to help reduce the effects of estrogen on tissues such as the endometrium.

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    The study called “ENVISIOeN” (Effectiveness of Visanne in Improving Quality of Life in Asian Women with Endometriosis) looked into whether dienogest is a safe and effective treatment for the symptoms of endometriosis in the long term.

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    The study was conducted in six Asian countries — the Philippines, South Korea, Singapore, Thailand, Malaysia, and Indonesia — for 24 months.

    According to a news release from Bayer, the pharmaceutical company that develops a dienogest under the brand name Visanne, 77% of patients and 77% of physicians who participated in the study reported satisfaction with the use of the progestin.

    “The 24-month findings of the study are encouraging news for endometriosis sufferers in Asia, given that endometriosis, is a chronic and painful disease affecting 1 in 10 women during their reproductive years,” said Dr. Maria Jesusa Banal-Silao, an associate professor at the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology of the University of the Philippines College of Medicine, Philippine General Hospital.

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    “Results from the ENVISIOeN study represent an important milestone in defining a promising first-line treatment option for the long-term management of endometriosis.”

    The findings of the ENVISIOeN study are consistent with other studies that also evaluated the safety and effectiveness of dienogest in treating endometriosis.

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    According to Endometriosis News a two-year study from Italy’s University of Catania showed women treated with dienogest “experienced significant improvements pelvic pain scores from the third month of treatment” compared with women who were given a different type of treatment. These effects became more pronounced from the sixth to the 24th month of treatment. 

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    The researchers of the Italy study also reported that women treated with dienogest experienced improvements in menstrual cramps (dysmenorrhea), reduction of painful sexual intercourse, and improvements in aspects like physical function and emotional status.

    Bayer says Visanne has been proven to relieve endometriosis-related pain without causing side effects like decreased bone mineral density and menopausal symptoms. This means it can be used for long-term treatment of endometriosis, which is vital since this disease is chronic and can cause lesions to spread throughout the body that may require surgery.

    Dienogest has side effects and according to SingHealth (see below), they tend to occur during the first few months of taking it. The side effects should go away after a period of treatment, but tell your doctor if these side effects become progressively worse.

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    • Menstrual irregularities (if bleeding is heavy and continuous over time, it may lead to anaemia)
    • Headache
    • Back pain
    • Breast tenderness
    • Hot flushes
    • Mood changes
    • Acne
    • Stomach discomfort (e.g. nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain)
    • Weight gain

    Painful cramps during menstruation can be a sign of endometriosis. Click here to learn more.

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