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New menopause prevention drug could delay onset, boost women’s longevity

Stressed old woman using fan to cool off at home due to overheating and summer heat health problems, sitting on sofa feeling exhausted and dehydrated.
Stressed old woman using fan to cool off at home due to overheating and summer heat health problems, sitting on sofa feeling exhausted and dehydrated.

Menopause has long been accepted as a fact of life for women — but what if there was a way to prevent the hot flashes, night sweats, mood changes and other uncomfortable side effects?

Researchers in New York are convinced they’ve found the answer.

Scientists at the biotech company Oviva Therapeutics say they have developed an injection that could potentially, and indefinitely, delay the onset of menopause, which occurs between the ages of 45 and 55 as the levels of reproductive hormones, such as estrogen progesterone and anti-Mullerian hormone (AMH), decrease.

Researchers believe their innovative jab could prevent the onset of menopause. fizkes – stock.adobe.com
Researchers believe their innovative jab could prevent the onset of menopause. fizkes – stock.adobe.com

“This drug couldn’t just delay the menopause, it could actually prevent it,” Oviva Therapeutics molecular biologist Dr. Daisy Robinton told the Daily Mail.

The jab increases levels of AMH, which is produced in the ovaries and plays a role in ovulation, and, subsequently, could stop menopause in its tracks.

“AMH hormone controls the amount of lag time until the menopause and actually acts as a brake in females,” she explained while presenting her findings at the Livelong Summit in Florida, per the Daily Mail.

“We could use AMH to slow the loss of ovarian reserve [number of eggs in the ovaries] and extend the runway to the menopause.”

The breakthrough drug, administered every few months, is being tested in rodents for safety and could be tested on humans in the coming years if proven successful.

If approved for use in humans further down the line, the treatment could cost as much as six figures due to the expensive research, according to the Daily Mail.

Robinton, who revealed her team’s findings at the Lifelong Summit, said the drug could “prevent” menopause from happening. Getty Images
Robinton, who revealed her team’s findings at the Lifelong Summit, said the drug could “prevent” menopause from happening. Getty Images

While the researchers did not highlight any adverse effects associated with the injection, hormone replacement therapy — which boosts estrogen and progesterone levels in menopausal women to relieve symptoms, but does not delay its onset — has been linked to an increased risk of cancer, blood clots and stroke.

In an interview with Pharmacy Times earlier this month, Robinton said, “Our ovaries and a woman’s body are really the seat of health in many ways — the hormones that they produce provide a sort of homeostasis or consistent quality of life during a woman’s reproductive years, if her reproductive organs are functioning sort of in a normal range”

It’s not just about longterm fertility, she continued: “We see that once a woman goes through menopause, she has significantly increased risks of cardiovascular disease, very significant declines in neurocognitive health (so many women experienced ‘brain fog’) and there can be increases in anxiety, depression, mood disorders, [and] a lot of sleep dysfunction.”

The research follows a recent call for a different approach to menopause.

Published this month in the Lancet, a different team of experts said that menopause should not be considered a condition to be treated but rather a natural consequence of getting older.

“Although management of symptoms is important, a medicalized view of menopause can be disempowering for women, leading to over-treatment and overlooking potential positive effects, such as better mental health with age and freedom from menstruation, menstrual disorders, and contraception,” they wrote.