Health Canada has released a new health warning about Allergan’s uterine fibroid medication, Esmya (also known as Fibristal.) According to the warning, the medication can cause a rare but serious liver injury.
Uterine fibroids are non-cancerous tumors that develop inside, on or in between the layers of a woman’s uterus. Esmya is an oral medication intended to manage some fibroid symptoms, particularly heavy bleeding during your period. Prior to this warning, Esmya was prescribed for women who were of child-bearing age and didn’t want to undergo surgery, or for women who were awaiting surgery and wanted to mitigate their symptoms. While the drug has been widely prescribed in Canada and Europe, the FDA here in the U.S. has declined approval of the drug for use in this country.
Because of the newly-discovered potential for liver injury, doctors are being told to change the ways in which they use the medication. Now, it’s only recommended for women who want to have children. Even for these women, doctors should only prescribe one course of the drug–refills aren’t recommended. And, of course, no woman with a history of liver problems should ever take the medication.
Other Alternatives to Fibroid Surgery
It’s not surprising that many women want to avoid fibroid surgery. Whether opting for a myomectomy (surgical removal of the tumor) or a hysterectomy (removal of the entire uterus), surgery is a big deal. It typically comes with a hospital stay and a considerable recovery time.
Given the potential for serious complications, however, medication shouldn’t necessarily be the solution for young women dealing with fibroid symptoms. In our Houston area office, we provide a minimally-invasive fibroid treatment with no down time and outpatient delivery. While it is not right for everyone, it is certainly a treatment option worth considering, since it offers a non-medicinal, non-surgical solution for fibroid sufferers. If you’re currently investigating fibroid treatment options, be sure to schedule a consultation with Dr. Fox or Dr. Hardee to learn whether Uterine Fibroid Embolization is the right option for you.