Expert Commentary

How effective is elagolix treatment in women with fibroids and HMB?

Author and Disclosure Information



Details about the study

The study by Simon et al is an extension study (UF-EXTEND), in that women could participate if they had completed 1 of the 2 pivotal studies on elagolix. The pivotal studies (Elaris UF1 and UF2) were both randomized, double-blinded, placebo-controlled studies with up to 6 months of therapy; for UF-EXTEND, however, participants were randomly assigned to either combined elagolix and hormone replacement therapy or elagolix alone for an additional 6 months of therapy. Although it was known that all participants would receive elagolix in UF-EXTEND, those who received hormonal add-back therapy were blinded. All women were then followed up for an additional 12 months after treatment ended.

The efficacy of elagolix was measured by the objective alkaline hematin method for menstrual blood loss with the a priori coprimary endpoints. The elagolix and hormonal add-back therapy group showed objective improvement in menstrual blood loss at 12 months in 87.9% of women in the extension study (89.4% in the elagolix alone group). This compares with 72.2% improvement at 6 months of treatment in the UF1 and UF2 studies for those taking elagolix and hormonal add-back therapy. These findings illustrate maintenance of the efficacy seen within the 6-month pivotal studies using elagolix over an extended amount of time.

The safety of elagolix also was demonstrated in UF-EXTEND. The 3 most common adverse events were similar to those found in Elaris UF1 and UF2 and included hot flushes, headache, and nausea. In the elagolix and hormonal add-back therapy group during the extension study, the percentage with hot flushes was 7%, headache 6%, and nausea 4%. These are small percentages, which is encouraging for providers and women with HMB associated with fibroids.

Effects on bone density

Bone density was evaluated at baseline in the UF1 and UF2 studies, through treatment, and then 12 months after the extended treatment was stopped. The hormonal add-back therapy of estradiol 1 mg/norethindrone acetate 0.5 mg significantly protected bone density. Some women did not have a decrease in bone density, but for those who did the average was less than 5% for the lumbar spine. The lumbar spine is considered the most reactive, so this illustrates the safety that combined therapy offers women with HMB and fibroids.

The lumbar spine is considered the most reactive, so this site is often used as the main focus with BMD studies. As Simon et al show, the lumbar spine mean BMD percent change from baseline for the elagolix with add-back therapy was -1.5% (95% confidence interval [CI], -1.9 to -1.0) in women who received up to 12 months of treatment at month 6 in the extension study. After stopping elagolix with add-back therapy, at 6 months the elagolix with add-back therapy had a Z-score of -0.6% (95% CI, -1.1 to -0.1). This shows a trend toward baseline, or a recovery within a short time from stopping medication.

Continue to: Study strengths and limitations...

Next Article: