The Pharmacologic Management of Endometriosis

Maria A. Pino, PhD, MS, RPh


US Pharmacist. 2017;42(9):12/16/2017 

In This Article

Abstract and Introduction


Endometriosis is an estrogenmediated growth of endometrial tissue outside the uterus. Patients with this gynecologic condition, for which there is no cure, experience debilitating pelvic pain during menstruation and have a greater chance of infertility. Endometriosis affects about 10% of women of childbearing age. Management of endometriosis involves the use of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs and hormonal therapies, which have been observed to reduce endometrial proliferation. Following an evaluation of patient-specific toxicities, oral contraceptives, progestins, danazol, or gonadotropin-releasing hormone agonists are used to suppress estrogen levels. Surgery is considered if a pelvic mass is detected or if the patient is planning a pregnancy.


Endometriosis, which is the estrogen-dependent growth of endometrial tissue outside the uterus, causes inflammation, pelvic pain, dysmenorrhea, painful intercourse, and infertility in approximately 10% of females of reproductive age.[1] As of 2010, an estimated 176 million women of childbearing age worldwide were affected.[2] Although it is considered a benign disorder, endometriosis can affect the patient's quality of life. In addition to causing debilitating pain, endometriosis results in worse clinical outcomes in women undergoing assisted reproductive technology, adding to the negative social and psychological impact of this chronic gynecologic condition.[3] Endometriosis occurs rarely in postmenopausal women.[4]