New drug for postmenopausal painful sex

Postmenopausal women in the US who experience pain during sex will soon have access to a new medication.

The US Food and Drug Administration has approved vaginal dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA) under the drug name prasterone to treat dyspareunia due to vulvogaginal atrophy.

The efficacy and safety of daily 0.5% DHEA (6.5 mg vaginal ovules) was established in four 12-week placebo-controlled trials as well as a one-year open-label trial.

Vaginal discharge was the most common adverse effect.

Head of NSW Family Planning Dr Deborah Bateson says the effects of vaginal DHEA are likely to be mediated by local metabolism to oestrone and testosterone.

She says it’s a promising treatment alternative but more large studies are needed to confirm efficacy and safety.

“The trial used daily dosing which would be quite onerous for women so it would be good to look at less frequent dosing