Endometriosis is a disease of the pelvic that affects between 1 and 8% of the female population. It can be as high as 50% in women with infertility and is present in as many as 70% of women with pelvic pain.
It’s been over a decade since any new treatments for Endometriosis-associated pain have been released, so it’s exciting to have something new for the very large number of women who deal with this disease on a daily basis.
Endometriosis is defined as have endometrial cells–which are supposed to make up the lining on the inside of the uterus—located outside the uterine cavity. Usually, these endometriotic “implants” are located on the tubes, ovaries, or uterine surface, but have been found on the intestines, diaphragm, lining of the lungs and even in the membranes lining the skull. Some women with endometriosis have minimal to no symptoms, while others suffer from painful periods, painful sex, chronic pelvic pain and infertility. It’s a disease that can affect women from the time they have their first period, through the reproductive years, and even well after menopause.
Last month, AbbVie won approval for elagolix, which will be marketed under the name “Orilissa”. It’s a gonadotropin-releasing hormone receptor antagonist, like Lupron. Orilissa—which is taken as a daily tablet–only partially blocks the estrogen and progesterone receptors, resulting in decreased pain with less severe side effects. Phase 3 trials have shown it’s well tolerated and successfully reduces pelvic pain, pain with periods, and pain with sex.
Of course, AbbVie has investors to satisfy and has been working on bringing Orilissa to market since 2010. They will be pricing the drug at just over $10,000/year. For those with commercial, employer sponsored insurance plans, there will be ways to afford this new medication, either through affordable co-pays or with “coupons” that make it affordable. These coupons are also in the news these days as the US government is threatening to ban them.
Ultimately, if you have chronic pelvic pain, painful periods, or other symptoms of endometriosis, bring them up with your OB/GYN. Now’s a great time, there are many treatment options available, and Orilissa is just the newest.
El Camino Women’s Medical Group offers the latest Minimally Invasive Solutions for gynecologic problems. Drs. Amy Teng, Erika Balassiano, and Pooja Gupta, all members of AAGL (American Association of Gynecologic Laparoscopy) are highly trained and experienced in the field of Minimally Invasive Gynecgologic Surgery. Dr. Erika Balassiano is also a graduate of the Minimally Invasive Gynecologic Surgery Fellowship at Stanford University, under the supervision of world-renowned Dr. Camran Nezhat.
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