August 11, 2006

IUD therapy an option for heavy menstrual bleeding

NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - For women with abnormally heavy
menstrual bleeding, treatment with an intrauterine device that
releases the hormone levonorgestrel appears to be less costly
and equally, if not slightly more effective, than thermal
balloon ablation, report investigators from New Zealand.

Thermal ablation involves inserting a balloon into the
uterus, which is inflated and heated to destroy endometrial
tissue lining the womb.

Dr. P. M. Brown and colleagues from University of Auckland
determined the cost-effectiveness of the two treatments in 79
women seen at a menstrual disorders clinic at National Women's
Hospital in Auckland. Doctors placed the
levonorgestrel-releasing IUD in 40 women, whereas 39 women
underwent thermal ablation.

According to the team's report in BJOG for July, the
expected cost of treatment was $869 for IUD therapy and $1,693
for ablation, suggesting that the IUD system is a
cost-effective treatment when compared with thermal balloon
ablation, the team notes.

They also note that the IUD system was associated with
slightly greater gains in overall quality of life.

Moreover, in a previous study comparing the efficacy of the
IUD system with that of heat ablation, women treated with the
IUD reported significantly less bleeding than those treated
with ablation.

Collectively, the results suggest that the IUD system is
associated with "better outcomes ... although the differences
are slight," notes the study team.

Brown and colleagues conclude that the
levonorgestrel-releasing IUD "should be considered an effective
alternative for the treatment of heavy menstrual bleeding."

SOURCE: BJOG July 2006.