Tuesday February 26th the FDA approved a new drug for painful sex. It’s called Osphena and it is a selective estrogen receptor modulator or SERM. This medication is similar to other medications iof this type such as Tamoxifen and Raloxifene.
SERMs activate some tissues that are sensitive to estrogen such as in this case, the vagina, while are much less active in tissues such as the breast.
In a study of 1,889 postmenopausal women, those who used Ospeneal had a statistically significant improvement in the degree of painful sex over the 12 weeks of the study compared to women who received a placebo.
Common side effects included hot flashes, vaginal discharge, muscle spasms and excessive sweating. The package insert warns that the drug may increase the risk of endometrial (uterine lining) cancer, blood clots and stroke. It also states that the medication should be used for the shortest amount of time possible to achieve patients’ treatment goals.
Since vaginal dryness is one of the most common symptoms of menopause and since the symptom continues to worsen over time, it is likely that this new medication will have benefits but will also benefit from being paired and extended with non-hormonal vaginal moisturizers such as Replens.
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