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Drug For Menstrual Problems

By Devaki

An experimental new drug can ease menstrual cramps by targeting the cause rather than the symptom of the pain, says the scientists. The newly developed drug is now known by the code name VAIII913.


Menstrual cramps, also known as dysmenorrhea, creates several problems which include the pain in abdomen and back, nausea, mood swings, vomiting, sweating, and dizziness for ninety percent of the women. Menstrual cramps are caused by contractions of the uterus during menstruation. In dysmenorrhea, the uterus contracts with increased frequency, causing unusually severe, cramping pain. The reason for this is the increased blood levels of the hormone Vasopressin, which plays a role in regulating contraction of the uterus. The newly developed drug helps blocking the hormones, which can relieve dysmenorrhea.

Existing treatments for the condition include pain-relievers, anti-inflammatory drugs, and oral contraceptives that stop menstruation. These treatments are ineffective in almost one-third of women with moderate to severe cases. Some of them relieve only the symptoms, rather than targeting the underlying cause of dysmenorrhea, and may have unwanted side effects such as mood alteration and stomach upsets.

The newly developed drug, VAIII913, can fine tune the effects of dysmenorrhea. This drug is to be administered orally as a pill, rather than an injection. The drug is safe, with no apparent ill effects.


The next phase of clinical trials is currently underway in the U.K. and the U.S. to evaluate how well it works to control pain in a group of women with dysmenorrhea.

Investigators expect results to be available later this year. If studies continue to show promise, the drug could be available to patients in four years, says the scientists.

Story first published: Thursday, March 25, 2010, 11:04 [IST]
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