Health / Wellbeing

So what does Australia’s new endometriosis medication do?

So what does Australia's new endometriosis medication do?

It's been 13 years since the last time a new medication was approved in Australia for endometriosis, but yesterday a new drug called Ryeqo was given the green light by an Australian drug regulator to be used for the condition.

The chief executive of Endometriosis Australia, Maree Davenport told The Guardian, “This new drug is an is another tool to enable women with endometriosis to manage their pain, and while it might not suit everybody, for many from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds, this drug means that the taboo issues relating to going on contraceptives to manage endometriosis pain is alleviated.”


What do we know about Ryeqo?

Ryeqo is a tablet taken orally and uses three key ingredients: relugolix, estradiol, and norethisterone acetate. Technically, the drug has been available for use in Australia since 2022, but it wasn't until this week that it was approved specifically for the treatment of endometriosis.

So far in Australia, approved medications have only been in the form of injections or nasal sprays. This is the first oral form.


What does it do?

The medication aims to suppress the body's primary oestrogen production, as well as helping to maintain bone health and protect the uterine lining. All three of its active ingredients work in tandem to help regulate the levels of oestrogen and progesterone in your body – the hormones that contribute to endometriosis – which in turn, helps to alleviate the condition's symptoms.

Find out more about Ryeqo on its Therapeutic Goods Association website.


How can I be prescribed it?

Patients looking to be prescribed Ryeqo tablets will need to consult their GP or specialist. Ryeqo tablets will be prescribed to patients who have already tried medical and surgical interventions for their endometriosis.


How much will it cost?

Ryeqo will set you back $135 for a month's supply. While a submission has been made to the Pharmaceutical Benefits Advisory Committee to subsidise the drug, Ryeqo will currently not be subsidised by Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme.


What is endometriosis?

Endometriosis is a chronic condition that affects at least one in nine girls and women. It occurs when tissue similar to the lining of the uterus begins to grow outside of it, which in turn affects other organs and leads to inflammation, lesions and the formation of painful scar tissue.

In Australia, approximately 15 in every 1,000 hospitalisations among women aged 15-44 are related to endometriosis. It has no cure, no direct causes, and diagnosis is often delayed for years because of its difficulty to diagnose and treat.


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