Ending Ectopic Pregnancy

Researchers say one out of every 100 pregnancies is ectopic. That’s when the egg grows outside the womb. Surgery is usually required, but now doctors believe they have a better, easier way.

Gerri counts her blessings every day. Being with her 3-year-old son, Logan, makes life complete. But Logan wasn’t her first pregnancy.

“About a week or two after I knew I was pregnant, I started spotting,” says Gerri. She was rushed to the hospital, where she had an ultrasound. “They didn’t see the pregnancy in the uterus. So they assumed that it was in the tube,” she says.

Gerri was having an ectopic pregnancy. The fertilized egg was attached outside the uterus. Ectopic pregnancies are potentially life threatening.

Dr. Eisenstein says ectopic pregnancies do not develop normally. Surgery is done to remove the pregnancy. Now an injection of a cancer drug called methotrexate is having the same result.

“Methotrexate interferes with DNA production. So any tissue that’s growing fast and needs to reproduce the cells, this will poison it,” says Dr. Eisenstein, an obstetrician/gynecologist.

Dr. Eisenstein reviewed literature on more than 700 women. He found the drug was 94 percent successful.

Gerri was able to get pregnant again right away after being treated with the injection. “You know, Logan has given me more than I ever imagined in return,” she says.

Doctors say the drug is not for everyone. It can only be used early in the pregnancy. They say that’s why it’s so important to see a doctor as soon as you discover you’re pregnant.

Preventing Hearing Loss

It can happen overnight. You go to bed with normal hearing and wake up nearly deaf. Within weeks you may lose your hearing altogether. There is no cure for autoimmune inner ear disease, but there may be a way to slow it down.

Lisa hears the same tone we do, but it sounds different in her ears. In her right ear she hears constant static. Her left feels like she’s under water. Much of her hearing vanished overnight.

Lisa says, “I just thought maybe there was wax in my ear, or maybe it was pressurized, and eventually it would pop.”

The damage is deep within her ear. Lisa has AIED, or autoimmune inner ear disease. Her immune system is attacking her inner ear. It mistakenly thinks there’s a virus or bacterium there.

Jennifer Derebery, M.D., an otologist at the House Ear Clinic, Inc., in Los Angeles, Calif., says, “It starts to attack normal tissue, and it will release a lot of inflammatory chemicals. They can damage the tissue.”

Lisa’s best hope is the chemotherapy drug, methotrexate. She and others nationwide are participating in testing of the drug on AIED. Cancer patients were the first to notice an added benefit.

Dr. says, “Many of those who had other autoimmune diseases like rheumatoid arthritis or psoriasis had those symptoms improve while on it.”

The three-year study will include blood tests that may explain what brings on this disease virtually overnight.

Lisa and her husband, Don, know this drug may not improve her hearing. Yet even if it saves what little she has left, it will help them keep communicating.

Researchers say the drug can potentially cause liver toxicity, hair loss and loss of appetite, but they say these are reversible when treatment with the drug is stopped or decreased.