Hope is on the horizon for women with painful menstrual cramps (dysmenorrhea). Between 45% and 90% of women experience dysmenorrhea. In addition to significant pain in the abdomen and back, symptoms of dysmenorrhea include nausea, vomiting, sweating, and dizziness. Dysmenorrhea is the leading cause of missing school or work for teens and women in the childbearing years. Current medications for dysmenorrhea aim at treating symptoms. A promising new drug that targets the cause of painful cramps is breezing through clinical studies with no adverse side effects.
An increased frequency of uterine contractions causes extremely painful menstrual cramps. Vasopressin is a hormone that helps regulate uterine contractions. Researchers at Vantia Ltd., a pharmaceutical company in the United Kingdom, discovered a pill (code name VA111913) that appears to relieve painful period cramps by targeting the cause of dysmenorrhea by blocking the effects of vasopressin. The new medication is advancing through clinical trials and could be available to patients in four years.