Endometriosis is a common condition in women that occurs when the tissue that normally lines the inside of your uterus grows outside of your uterus. During menstruation that tissues that grows inside the uterus is shed, but once it begins to grow outside of the uterus that doesn't happen and, according to the Mayo Clinic, it becomes trapped. Endometriosis can cause a variety of symptoms in women, including extreme pain especially during menstruation and can even affect fertility.
There's no cure for endometriosis and historically women have been prescribed birth control or pain killers to help them manage the pain. Endometriosis can affect as many as 1 in 10 women and for the first time in a decade the FDA has approved a new drug to help women who suffer from the condition deal with the often debilitating pain is causes.
Biopharmaceutical company AbbVie recently announced that the FDA approved the drug ORILISSA™, a new pill specifically designed to treat the pain women with endometriosis experience. The drug works by reducing production of estrogen in women, since endometriosis is a condition driven by estrogen.
"Endometriosis is often characterized by chronic pelvic pain that can impact women's daily activities," said Hugh S. Taylor, M.D., study investigator and Chair of the Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology and Reproductive Sciences, Yale School of Medicine. "Women with endometriosis may undergo multiple medical treatments and surgical procedures seeking pain relief and this approval gives physicians another option for treatment based on a woman's specific type and severity of endometriosis pain."
A study on the drug found that it significantly reducedin about 45 percent of women given a lower dose of the drug, while 75 percent of women given a higher dose recorded pain relief. However the drug doesn't come without it's side effects. The drug can cause weakened bones and the low estrogen levels can contribute to menopause like symptoms such as hot flashes or night sweats, headache, nausea, difficulty sleeping, absence of periods, anxiety, joint pain, depression and mood changes.
The drug isn't cheap, either. Orilissa is reported to cost $845 every four weeks, without insurance, but it's at least providing hope for women who are suffering from this very common and painful disorder.