The therapy offers patients a convenient alternative to surgery or injections and can be administered at home

Around 4,500 people in the UK will be eligible for a new oral treatment for uterine fibroids. It follows the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) recommendation of relugolix with estradiol and norethisterone acetate, also known as Ryeqo.

The oral treatment is made by Gedeon Richter UK and offers an alternative to surgery and injectable gonadotrophin-releasing hormone agonists.

The exact cause of fibroids is unknown, but they have been linked to oestrogen. Uterine fibroids are a non-cancerous growth that occur in or around the uterus, in about one in three 16 to 50-year-olds. They generally shrink after the menopause.

Helen Knight, interim director of medicines evaluation at the NICE Centre for Health Technology Evaluation, said: “Uterine fibroids can have a profound effect on quality of life. Along with the many debilitating symptoms, there is a real lack of long-term options.

“This treatment has the potential to improve quality of life. As well as effectively reducing symptoms, it can be taken at home and is therefore more convenient than the injectable treatment, given in a hospital setting.”

“It can also be used long term, which could mean improved and sustained symptom relief, it is well-tolerated, and it will mean thousands of women can avoid invasive surgery which always carries some risk.” she added.

Symptoms of uterine fibroids can include prolonged heavy menstrual bleeding, pelvic pain and pressure and fertility problems. There are currently limited long-term treatment options.

Minister for women’s health, Maria Caulfield, noted: “Around one in three women can suffer from uterine fibroids at some point in their life – the symptoms can have a profound impact on women’s health and lead to infertility if untreated.

“This is another ground-breaking step forward to not only improve women’s quality of life and reduce symptoms, but to give them greater choice in the medication available and options for alternative, less invasive treatment.”