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The information provided here is meant to give you a general idea about each of the medicines listed below. Only the most general side effects are included, so ask your doctor if you need to take any special precautions. Use each of these medicines as recommended by your doctor, or according to the instructions provided. If you have further questions about usage or side effects, contact your doctor.

Direct treatment of uterine fibroids attempts either to shrink them or to reduce the bleeding they cause. These drug therapies are used to treat the symptoms without eliminating the cause.

Common names include:

  • Progesterone (Crinone)
  • Medroxyprogesterone acetate (Cycrin, Provera)
  • Norethindrone acetate (Aygestin)
  • Megestrol Acetate (Megace)

Progestins are one of the active ingredients in birth control pills. They reduce menstrual blood flow by altering the hormonal balance in the body. Possible side effects include:

  • Damage to early pregnancy—Not recommended for the first four months of a pregnancy.
  • Change in menstrual pattern
  • Sleepiness
  • Dizziness
  • Headache
  • Constipation
  • Nausea
  • Nervousness
  • Depression
  • Breast enlargement

Raloxifene is an estrogen-blocking agent. Because fibroids sometimes depend on the presence of estrogen to help grow or maintain themselves, blocking estrogen may stop growth or even shrink fibroid tumors.

Possible side effects include:

  • Hot flashes
  • Sweating
  • Leg cramps
  • Blood clots in the legs, lungs, or eyes (rare side effect)

Fadrozole is an aromatase-inhibitor. Aromatase-inhibitors interfere with a crucial step in estrogen’s synthesis in the body, which decreases the amount of circulating estrogen. Deprived of estrogen, fibroids often shrink. With long-term use, possible side effects include:

  • Bone loss
  • Worsening of cardiovascular disease

Danazol is a synthetic male hormone. It can suppress fibroid growth. But there are also a lot of side effects, such as:

  • Damage to early pregnancy
  • Life-threatening blood clots
  • Liver damage
  • Weight gain
  • Acne
  • Hirsutism (abnormal hair growth)
  • Edema
  • Hair loss
  • Deepening of the voice
  • Flushing
  • Sweating
  • Vaginal dryness

Common names include:

  • Gonadorelin (Lutrepulse)
  • Histrelin (Supprelin)
  • Nafarelin (Synarel)

These drugs can reduce the size of fibroids and may be prescribed several months before surgery. GnRH agonists are given by injection, subdermal pellet (inserted under the skin), or nasal spray.

Possible side effects include:

  • Fibroid growth within six months
  • Rapid bone loss
  • Multiple pregnancy

Common names include:

  • Indomethacin (Indocin)
  • Naproxen (Naprosyn, Anaprox)
  • Celecoxib (Celebrex)

In addition to pain relief, NSAIDs may also reduce menstrual flow.

Possible side effects include:

  • Stomach irritation, ulceration, and bleeding
  • Allergic reactions
  • Kidney damage
  • Liver damage

Common names include:

  • Codeine
  • Pentazocine (Talwin)
  • Morphine
  • Meperidine (Demerol)
  • Fentanyl (Duragesic)
  • Hydromorphone (Dilaudid)
  • Methadone
  • Oxycodone (Oxycontin)

If you have severe pain, your doctor may prescribe narcotics.

Most important side effects include:

  • Dizziness
  • Sleepiness
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Constipation
  • Allergic reactions
  • Coma or death

Common names include:

  • Aspirin
  • Ibuprofen (Motrin, Advil)
  • Naproxen (Aleve)
  • Piroxicam (Feldene)
  • Sulindac ( Clinoril)

Possible side effects include:

  • Stomach irritation, ulceration, and bleeding
  • Allergic reactions
  • Kidney damage
  • Liver damage

Common name: Tylenol

Possible side effects include:

  • Allergic reaction
  • Liver damage

Whenever you are taking a prescription medicine, take the following precautions:

  • Take your medicine as directed. Do not change the amount or schedule.
  • Know what side effects could occur. Report them to your doctor.
  • Talk to your doctor before you stop taking the medicine.
  • Plan ahead for refills if you need them.
  • Do not share your medicine with anyone.
  • Drugs can be dangerous when mixed. Talk to your doctor if you are taking more than one drug, including over-the-counter products and supplements.

Call your doctor if:

  • Your symptoms become worse
  • Your medicines are causing side effects

Leiomyoma. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed/. Updated May 22, 2012. Accessed August 16, 2012.

Uterine fibroids fact sheet. Womens Health.gov website. Available at: http://www.womenshealth.gov/publications/our-publications/fact-sheet/uterine-fibroids.cfm. Updated May 13, 2008. Accessed August 16, 2012.

Last reviewed September 2012 by Andrea Chisholm

Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.

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