Ulipristal Acetate, a Progesterone Receptor Modulator

Whereas many ladies expertise bodily signs previous to the onset of their interval or premenstrual syndrome (PMS), a smaller subset of ladies undergo from Premenstrual Dysphoric Dysfunction (PMDD), a extra extreme type of premenstrual syndrome.  Serotonergic antidepressants have been established because the first-line remedy choice for PMDD; nonetheless, some girls both don’t tolerate or fail to reply to this class of medicines.  Some girls could profit from remedy with oral contraceptives; nonetheless, a big proportion of ladies, particularly these with extra extreme signs, could not reply to both of  these interventions.  

In a latest research, researchers investigated steady remedy with a selective progesterone receptor modulator, ulipristal acetate (UPA), as a possible remedy for PMDD.  On this multicenter, double-blind, randomized medical trial, girls with PMDD (N=95) have been randomly assigned to obtain both 5 mg/day of UPA (N=48) or placebo (N=47) throughout three 28-day remedy cycles.   One-third of the participant had beforehand failed remedy with an SSRI.

Premenstrual signs have been measured utilizing  the Each day Report of Severity of Issues (DRSP) from baseline to finish of remedy. DRSP scores have been captured each day utilizing a smartphone software.  


Girls within the UPA group skilled a imply enchancment in DRSP rating after three months of 41% (SD=18), in comparison with 22% (SD=27) within the placebo group (imply distinction -18%). UPA remedy was related to enhancements in DRSP depressive symptom subscale (42% in contrast with 22%) and DRSP anger/irritability subscale (47% in contrast with 23%).  No variations have been noticed for the DRSP bodily symptom subscale. 

Remission primarily based on DRSP rating was attained by 20 girls within the UPA group (50.0%) and eight girls within the placebo group (21.1%).  Seven girls handled with UPA discontinued due to gentle or reasonable unwanted side effects. Probably the most generally reported unwanted side effects resulting in discontinuation have been headache, fatigue, and nausea; one girl discontinued due to worsening of depressive signs.Amongst girls within the placebo group, three discontinued due to depressive signs or anxiousness

Will UPA Be a Viable Therapy Possibility?

The present research means that UPA is an efficient remedy for PMDD.  Whereas it does enhance the bodily signs noticed in girls with PMDD, UPA remedy results in vital reductions within the psychological signs of despair and anger/irritability, that are the hallmark of PMDD.  Full or partial remission of PMDD signs was attained by 85% of the ladies handled with UPA. 

Precisely how UPA works shouldn’t be fully understood.  UPA is a selective progesterone receptor modulator which acts as a progesterone antagonist in progesterone responsive tissues.  Within the mind, progesterone receptors are discovered all through the amygdala, hippocampus, hypothalamus, thalamus, and frontal cortex, areas concerned in temper regulation.  

Whereas direct modulation of progesterone receptors could contribute to the discount of PMDD signs noticed with UPA on this research, remedy with progesterone receptor modulators, together with UPA, leads to anovulation.  Thus, UPA could present reduction by shutting down ovulation and stopping the cyclical fluctuations within the ranges of estrogen and progesterone that are thought to set off premenstrual signs.  This mechanism of motion is analogous to what’s noticed in girls handled with GnRH agonists like leuprolide or Lupron.  Nonetheless, the massive benefit with UPA is that, not like GnRH agonists, UPA doesn’t result in such a profound discount in estrogen ranges and hypoestrogenism.  In girls handled with UPA, ranges of estrogen stay secure within the mid-follicular section vary.  

Whereas UPA seems to be efficient for PMDD signs, you will need to observe that 15% of the ladies within the UPA group discontinued remedy due to unwanted side effects, mostly complications, nausea and fatigue. There may be restricted data on the long-term security of UPA. This medicine was  launched in 2012 for the remedy of uterine fibroids.  Greater than 750,000 girls have been handled for uterine fibroids with UPA; nonetheless, remedy doesn’t sometimes prolong past three months.  One research urged elevated danger of liver damage with long run use; thus, the FDA has requested extra information concerning the security of long-term use and for now recommends periodic monitoring of liver operate.  

UPA shouldn’t be fairly prepared for primetime.  Nonetheless, it’s thrilling to see a brand new medicine that works in another way from customary remedy approaches.  Furthermore, the truth that about one-third of the individuals failed remedy with an SSRI previous to entry into the research however responded to UPA, means that UPA, and maybe different progesterone receptor modulators, could also be an inexpensive various for sufferers who don’t tolerate or reply to SSRIs.

Ruta Nonacs, MD PhD

Comasco E, Kopp Kallner H, Bixo M, Hirschberg AL, Nyback S, de Grauw H, Epperson CN, Sundström-Poromaa I.  Ulipristal Acetate for Therapy of Premenstrual Dysphoric Dysfunction: A Proof-of-Idea Randomized Managed Trial.  Am J Psychiatry. 2020 Dec 10.  

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