A MAJOR new treatment has been approved for a debilitating condition that affects thousands of Scottish women.
The drug, called Esmya, is the first oral treatment for uterine fibroids. These are benign tumours found in the uterus that can cause heavy menstrual bleeding, iron-deficiency anaemia, abdominal pain, an enlarged abdomen and bladder or bowel pressure, as well as infertility.
The drug gives women an option other than an injection for excessive bleeding and fibroid size reduction prior to surgery
The licence from the Scottish Medicines Consortium (SMC) means the drug can now be prescribed generally in treatment.
The advantages and cost benefits of Esmya were demonstrated in a comprehensive clinical trials programme prior to the SMC licensing it for prescription, with two of the most significant studies being published in the prestigious New England Journal of Medicine.
There is a genetic predisposition to the condition among black and Asian women, but it also affects a quarter of white females of reproductive age.
The SMC decision was welcomed by clinicians and patient groups.
Professor Mary Ann Lumsden, head of development medicine at the University of Glasgow and honorary consultant obstetrician and gynaecologist for NHS Greater Glasgow & Clyde, said: “It is a common condition.
“I do see a lot of women who do have fibroids and are significantly symptomatic, so it is important for women of Scotland.”
She stressed that there were still a lot of studies to be carried out on the drug and its uses, but added that it was a “major step forward”.