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Drug for menstrual cramps in the works

March 23, 2010 |  3:00 pm

Women Well, it's about time. If men had menstrual cramps, I think we'd have more treatment options than Midol by now. OK, enough complaining. A British company is attempting to develop a medication designed to target the specific cause of menstrual cramps. The researchers presented data from a Phase 2 clinical trial Tuesday at the annual meeting of the American Chemical Society in San Francisco.

Menstrual cramps are caused by contractions of the uterus and an increase in the hormone vasopressin. The goal of the experimental medication, called VA111913, is to block this hormone. The other remedies women use for relief -- painkillers and birth control pills -- only address the symptoms of menstrual cramps, not the cause.

"This is a different approach," said Andy Crockett, vice president of business development for Vantia Ltd., the company developing the drug. "Right now, the current therapies for menstrual cramps are poorly tailored."

While half of all women experience some menstrual cramps, about 10% to 20% have a severe condition, called dysmenorrhea. "It's one of the leading causes of work and school absenteeism in the United States," Crockett said. "We certainly believe this drug has the potential to be a breakthrough."

It's still too soon to know if the drug will work, however. It has passed initial safety tests and is now being tested on 100 women in the United Kingdom and three U.S. sites (Peoria, Ariz.; Austin, Texas; and Salt Lake City). The findings from the Phase 2 trial are expected later this year, but it will be several more years until the medication, if proven safe and effective, makes it to the marketplace.

Until then, ladies, you'll just have to suffer.

-- Shari Roan

Photo credit: Roxana Villa  /  For The Times

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Comments (7)

A British company is attempting to develop a medication designed to target the specific cause of menstrual cramps.

You mean it's designed to kill men?

I'm an acupuncturist having successfully treated hundreds of women with cramps and dysmenorrhea. "The current therapies for menstrual cramps are poorly tailored" may describe western medicine treatment but is in no way universal. The last thing women need is yet another hormone product.

Naproxn Sodium, sold as Alleve, is already a magic bullet for menstrual cramps. They should market it this way.

For females: take Alleve at the recommended dose the moment you know your period is about the start. Keep taking Alleve at the prescribed intervals until the danger period for your usual cramps has passed. You don't have to take it for your whole period.

I discovered this while living in Canada where the pill was available by prescription only. It stopped my terrible, terrible cramps.

A simple natural remedy is Evening Primrose capsules. It take about 4 weeks to notice benefits...Dr Weil makes a great one.

Evening Primrose oil. Comes in gel caps at Trader Joe's. Take two at onset. Make it a regular dietary supplement and never have cramps again.

I've personally noticed that for centuries women have found successful natural relief from these problems through the use of cannabis, mostly in the form of drinking it as tea. In the rural areas of South East Asia such as Laos, this has been the common practice for over 2000 years, and it continues today.

When will westerners wake up to the fact that drug companies are more concerned with selling you something rather than with your actual well being?

Nature has provided a perfect source of relief for you. See a local doctor and get a recommendation for the use of cannabis, and than visit your local dispensary. Do so and you will find your monthly discomforts coming to a rapid end.

The fact that we have, what six different forms of E.D. drugs being pandered constantly on TV and only Alleve for women to take for this condition is high proof that the medical research community, as well as big pharma companies are dominated by clueless or indifferent men. No man would tolerate what women go through month after month, for the breath of his adult life. No way, no how. I'm glad the Brits are taking the initiative on this, but where the h--- has Pfizer, Merck, and the rest of them been on this? You saw your stock go up with your E.D. drugs. Why can't you see this from a financial perspective? Do you realize the untapped market here? Not to mention, the human misery that has persisted for centuries. Yes, misery.


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