Medical therapies for uterine fibroids-a systematic review and network meta-analysis of randomised controlled trials

Kurinchi S. Gurusamy, Jessica Vaughan, Ian S. Fraser, Lawrence M.J. Best, Toby Richards

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

36 Citations (Scopus)


Background Uterine fibroids are common, often symptomatic and a third of women need repeated time off work. Consequently 25% to 50% of women with fibroids receive surgical treatment, namely myomectomy or hysterectomy. Hysterectomy is the definitive treatment as fibroids are hormone dependent and frequently recurrent. Medical treatment aims to control symptoms in order to replace or delay surgery. This may improve the outcome of surgery and prevent recurrence. Purpose To determine whether any medical treatment can be recommended in the treatment of women with fibroids about to undergo surgery and in those for whom surgery is not planned based on currently available evidence. Study Selection Two authors independently identified randomised controlled trials (RCT) of all pharmacological treatments aimed at the treatment of fibroids from a list of references obtained by formal search of MEDLINE, EMBASE, Cochrane library, Science Citation Index, and ClinicalTrials. gov until December 2013. Data Extraction Two authors independently extracted data from identified studies. Data Synthesis A Bayesian network meta-analysis was performed following the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence-Decision Support Unit guidelines. Odds ratios, rate ratios, or mean differences with 95% credible intervals (CrI) were calculated. Results and Limitations A total of 75 RCT met the inclusion criteria, 47 of which were included in the network metaanalysis. The overall quality of evidence was very low. The network meta-analysis showed differing results for different outcomes. Conclusions There is currently insufficient evidence to recommend any medical treatment in the management of fibroids. Certain treatments have future promise however further, well designed RCTs are needed.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0149631
JournalPLoS One
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2016
Externally publishedYes


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