Dexamethasone – the cheap drug which is used to treat Covid-19 patients in hospitals – could also be used to combat heavy periods, a new study suggests.
If approved for use, the steroid could provide a new treatment option for women who suffer from heavy menstrual bleeding – the first option in 20 years.
Many women who suffer from heavy periods, also known as menorrhagia, are offered treatment with an interuterine system, which is a hormone-releasing device inserted into the womb cavity.
But some are dissatisfied with the side effects.
Our findings open the way for further study of dexamethasone as a possible safe and effective therapy
Professor Hilary Critchley
So the new trial, from the University of Edinburgh, may lead to an alternative treatment for women who suffer from heavy periods.
The study, published in the medical journal EBioMedicine, examined the use of the anti-inflammatory drug among 107 women from across the UK aged between 21 and 54 years old who had experienced heavy menstrual bleeding.
Women who were given a 0.9mg dose of dexamethasone twice daily for five days showed an average reduction in menstrual blood loss volume of 19%.
The researchers said the findings mean dexamethasone could be a future treatment option for women whose heavy menstrual bleeding harms their quality of life or health.
The chief investigator of the study, Hilary Critchley, professor of reproductive medicine at the University of Edinburgh’s MRC Centre for Reproductive Health, said: “Menstruation and heavy menstrual bleeding are still taboo topics and the debilitating impact of the latter is under-reported by patients.
“Our findings open the way for further study of dexamethasone as a possible safe and effective therapy.”