Systematic review of the effects of aromatase inhibitors on pain associated with endometriosis.

A Nawathe, Sanjay Patwardhan, David Yates, George Harrison, Khalid Khan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

90 Citations (Scopus)


OBJECTIVE: To assess the effects of aromatase inhibitors in women symptomatic of pain with endometriosis. DESIGN: A systematic review of published literature. MATERIAL AND METHODS: We conducted a comprehensive literature search to identify all the published observational and randomised studies evaluating the efficacy of aromatase inhibitors on pain associated with endometriosis. A combination of keywords was used to identify the maximum number of relevant citations in MEDLINE, EMBASE, CINAHL and the Cochrane Database. Outcome Pain relief, lesion size and quality of life. RESULTS: There were eight studies (137 women) evaluating outcomes of aromatase inhibitors. In case series/reports (seven studies, 40 women), aromatase inhibitors combined with progestogens or oral contraceptive pill or gonadotrophin-releasing hormone (GnRH) analogues reduced mean pain scores and lesion size and improved quality of life. An RCT (97 women) demonstrated that aromatase inhibitors in combination with GnRH analogues significantly improved pain (P <0.0001) compared with GnRH analogues alone together with significant improvement in multidimensional patient scores (P <0.0001). There was no significant reduction in spine or hip-bone densities. CONCLUSION: Aromatase inhibitors appear to have a promising effect on pain associated with endometriosis, but the strength of this inference is limited due to a dearth of the evidence available.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)818-22
Number of pages5
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2008


  • anastrazole
  • endometriosis
  • letrozole
  • quality of life
  • aromatase inhibitors


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