EMBARGOED FOR RELEASE: Tuesday, March 23, 6 p.m., Eastern Time
Scientists today described the discovery of a new drug, which is currently in Phase II clinical trials, designed to specifically target the root cause of painful menstrual cramps, not just the symptoms. The condition, called dysmenorrhea, is the leading cause of absenteeism from school and work among women in their teens and 20s. The scientists described the study at the American Chemical Society (ACS) 239th National Meeting, being held here this week.
Batt pointed out that dysmenorrhea affects between 45 and 90 percent of women of child-bearing age, In addition to pain in the abdomen and back, symptoms may include nausea, vomiting, sweating, and dizziness. Existing treatments for the condition include pain-relievers, anti-inflammatory drugs, and oral contraceptives that stop menstruation. However, these treatments are ineffective in almost one-third of women with moderate to severe cases. Some of them relieve only the symptoms, rather than targeting the underlying cause of dysmenorrhea, and may have unwanted side effects such as mood alteration and stomach upsets.
Their search for such a potential drug involved shifting through hundreds of chemical compounds and led to one with the desired effects. Scientists then re-engineered the compound, known by the code word ,VA111913, to fine-tune its effects. One modification allowed the drug to be administered orally, as a pill, rather than in an injection. They will reveal VA111913’s molecular structure for the first time at the ACS meeting.