For fibroid pain relief, women can use nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS), such as ibuprofen (Motrin, Advil, generic) or naproxen (Aleve, generic).
Prescription drug treatment of fibroids uses medicines that block or suppress estrogen, progesterone, or both hormones.
Oral contraceptives (OCs) are sometimes used to control the heavy menstrual bleeding associated with fibroids, but they do not help prevent fibroid growth. Newer types of continuous-dosing OCs reduce or eliminate the number of periods a woman has per year.
Intrauterine devices (IUDs) that release progestin can be very beneficial for reducing heavy bleeding. Specifically, the levonorgestrel-releasing intrauterine system, or LNG-IUS (Mirena), has shown excellent results. It is approved by the FDA to treat heavy menstrual bleeding. Many doctors now recommend the LNG-IUS as a first-line treatment for heavy menstrual bleeding, particularly for women who may face hysterectomy (removal of uterus). [For more information, see In-Depth Report #100: Menstrual disorders.]
Gonadotropin releasing hormone (GnRH) blocks the release of the reproductive hormones LH (luteinizing hormone) and FSH (follicular-stimulating hormone). As a result, the ovaries stop ovulating and no longer produce estrogen. GnRH agonists include the implant goserelin (Zoladex), a monthly injection of leuprolide (depot Lupron), the nasal spray nafarelin (Synarel), and buserelin (Suprefact), which is given either as a nasal spray or injection.. Such drugs may be used alone or in preparation for procedures used to destroy the uterine lining.
Review Date: 07/26/2010
Reviewed By: Reviewed by Harvey Simon, MD, Editor-in-Chief, Associate Professor of Medicine, Harvard Medical School; Physician, Massachusetts General Hospital. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.