Expert Opinion on Emerging Drugs vol:11 issue:3 pages:503-524
Endometriosis is a common, estrogen-dependent, gynaecological disease, defined as the presence of endometrial-like tissue outside the uterus. Although several medications are used for treatment of the disease, they are associated with high recurrence rates, considerable side effects and limited duration of application. Due to these limitations and to the impact of endometriosis on the quality of life of affected women, their environment and the society, there is a great need for new drugs able to abolish endometriosis and its symptoms. Studies in recent years investigating the (patho)physiological mechanisms involved in disease aetiology have fostered the development of novel therapeutic concepts for endometriosis, by targeting the hypothalamic-pituitary-gonadal axis, by selective modulation of estrogenic and progestogenic pathways, by inhibiting angiogenesis or by interfering with inflammatory and immunological factors. This article presents a brief summary of the currently available medications and an overview regarding the development of some of the most interesting and/or most promising novel drug candidates for endometriosis.