Orilissa, a recently approved medication for the treatment of endometriosis, has been shown to increase workplace productivity, as demonstrated by a recent clinical trial. Endometriosis is a common problem for reproductive-age women.1 There are several different types of endometriosis and the disease affects each person in a unique way. Some patients are asymptomatic, experiencing no pain or symptoms from the condition, while others can experience a range of symptoms many of which are debilitating. The impact of symptoms can severely impact day-to-day life, including participation in daily activities, social life, and intimate relationships, causing hardship for these women at home and work.1
How Orilissa works
Orilissa (elagolix) is a treatment that reduces endometrial-associated pain. An oral gonadotropin-releasing hormone receptor (Gn-RH) antagonist medication, Orilissa works by binding to receptors in the brain blocking certain signals active in the production of ovarian hormones. This results in a decrease in estrogen production.
Early clinical reports indicated that Orilissa is well-tolerated, and effective quickly in reducing pain. In a recent study, this led researchers to investigate the impact of the medication on alleviating work loss caused by endometriosis-associated pain.1
How symptoms affect daily life
Women with endometriosis regularly report having to miss work, as well as reduced productivity when at work. According to the study authors, women with endometriosis lose, on average, one half to one full day of work each week.1 The two phase III clinical trials have both reported that treating moderate-to-severe endometriosis-associated pain with Orilissa successfully reduced absenteeism and improved productivity in working women.
The two studies included a total of 1,686 women ages 18–49 with a surgically confirmed diagnosis of moderate-to-severe endometriosis-associated pain.1 The women were employed full or part-time.
Both independent studies randomized participants for 6 months of treatment into one of 3 groups: those treated with 150 mg of elagolix once a day, 200 mg of elagolix twice a day, or placebo.1,2 In addition, all participants completed a health-related productivity questionnaire (HRPQ). A HRPQ is a self-reporting tool, a nine-item questionnaire used to evaluate health-related productivity, validated for use in women with endometriosis.1 The HRPQ information was collected at the start of the study, called the baseline, and each month during treatment. The study results are based on the differences from the baseline report and the 3-month report.1
Information collected considered the impact of endometriosis on work both in and outside of the home. The current analysis only reflects the impact on work outside of the home. Areas considered included: employment status, hours of work scheduled during the prior week, effect of health issues or their treatment on working scheduled hours (absenteeism), and effect of health issues or their treatment on productivity during the prior week (presenteeism).1
At the start of the trial, participants reported losing 15-16 hours of employment in the previous week, accounting for about 40% of their scheduled work hours. The majority of these hours were due to lack of productivity. On an annualized basis, this equates to hundreds of hours of lost work, creating a meaningful financial impact.1,2
Cost savings with treatment
Using established US criteria on wages and benefits in the US, the study authors calculated direct cost savings associated with treating endometriosis with Orilissa. When compared to placebo, they estimated more than $3,000 annual savings for those treated with 150 mg once a day and over $6,000 annually for those taking 200mg twice a day.1
The professional impacts of endometriosis
Research shows that endometriosis-associated pain has interfered with the careers of some women because of lost productivity. This can adversely impact promotions and hitting targets for bonuses, sometimes resulting in their quitting or being fired for lack of performance.1
According to new research, this treatment option seems to allow women to feel better, work more, and be increasingly productive, resulting in improved work satisfaction and achievement as well as cost savings.1
Pokrzywinski, R. Soliman, A. et al. Impact of elagolix on work loss due to endometriosis-associated pain: estimates based on the results of two phase III clinical trials. Available at: https://www.fertstert.org/article/S0015-0282(19)30410-8/fulltext. Accessed 8.1.19.
Wexler, M. Orilissa Increases Workplace Productivity in People with Endometriosis, Study Suggests. Available at: https://endometriosisnews.com/2019/06/20/orilissa-increases-workplace-productivity-in-people-with-endometriosis-study-suggests/?utm_source=END+E-mail+List&utm_campaign=e39428bda5-RSS_MONDAY_EMAIL_CAMPAIGN&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_5a9732e593-e39428bda5-73040353. Accessed 7.22.19.