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New Medical Study: MIRENA “under-utilised”

18 August 2004

New Medical Study: MIRENA “under-utilised” in New Zealand.

New medical research has found New Zealand women who suffer from heavy periods are likely to benefit from the intrauterine pharmaceutical device known as MIRENA.

The results of a four-year study of Manawatu women have been published in the June edition of the Australian and New Zealand Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology.

Until recently in New Zealand, medical treatment for heavy bleeding or painful periods has been disappointing. But the arrival of MIRENA has offered women around the world a less radical alternative to hysterectomy, and other surgical treatments.

MIRENA is a small t-shaped intrauterine system, which many health professionals believe has revolutionised the treatment of heavy menstrual bleeding. However, the latest New Zealand study concludes MIRENA remains an under-utilised resource in this country, despite being less invasive and more cost effective than surgery.

New Research

Specialist Obstetrician and Gynaecologist, Dr Anil Sharma of Focus Obstetrics and Gynaecology and Dr Bruno Radesic (gynaecology registrar) undertook the new research into the benefits of MIRENA.

Dr Sharma says the study involved 78 women who all had the MIRENA device inserted in Palmerston North hospital between June 1998 and June 2002.

“The aim of the survey was to measure patient satisfaction in a New Zealand population of women,” he says.

“We wanted to know how effective the MIRENA treatment was; how many patients had long-term benefits, and why some chose to discontinue the treatment.”

The women were asked to complete a survey questionnaire regarding bleeding patterns, side effects and satisfaction rates.

Key findings include:

78% of patients had lighter or no periods. Rates of side effects and complications were low. 76% of patients were satisfied with the device. The device also offered excellent reversible contraception

MIRENA – background

Nearly one in four New Zealand women will experience heavy or painful bleeding over their lifetime.

The problem causes discomfort, anxiety and is the most common cause of iron deficiency in healthy fertile women.

In March this year, an independent report by European researchers concluded there are significant healthcare cost savings and improved quality of life for women who opt for treatment with MIRENA.

The European study backed up earlier international reports, which show two out of three patients will avoid the need for hysterectomy when treated with MIRENA.

In New Zealand’s public health system MIRENA costs about $55 per year, compared with a hysterectomy, which costs about $2600 per operation.

In the private sector, it is also significantly cheaper than all other commonly used treatments for heavy periods.

ENDS

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