The Scottish Medicines Consortium has approved funding for the use across NHS Scotland of a uterine fibroid treatment that could enable some women to avoid hysterectomies.

Gedeon Richter’s Esmya (ulipristal acetate) is a once-daily pill that controls bleeding, reduces anaemia and shrinks the size of fibroids compared with baseline, used to treat women with moderate to severe uterine fibroids. 

The SMC is now allowing the drug’s prescription for use on an intermittent basis, giving women the opportunity to choose the long term medical management of uterine fibroids and potentially avoid surgery, expanding its use from just pre-operative treatment limited to one bout of therapy.

Around 40 in every 100 women develop uterine fibroids at some time in their life, and it is estimated that about 300,000 surgical procedures are performed annually in the EU for fibroids, including around 230,000 hysterectomies. 

“The SMC’s approval of Esmya is a significant development for both clinicians and patients in Scotland,” noted Kriszta Zolnay, UK Managing Director Gedeon Richter. “Many women with uterine fibroids who wish to avoid surgery can now have access to an effective treatment option.”

"This is particularly good news for those women who want children and therefore wish to avoid surgery especially major risks like hysterectomy,” added Essam Hadoura, a consultant gynaecologist at Victoria Hospital Fife.