Introduction: Vulvovaginal atrophy (VVA), a component of the genitourinary syndrome of menopause, is a progressive condition due to decline in estrogen leading to vaginal and vulvar epithelial changes. Accompanying symptoms of dryness, irritation, burning, dysuria, and/or dyspareunia have a negative impact on quality of life. Ospemifene is a selective estrogen receptor modulator (SERM) approved by the FDA for moderate to severe dyspareunia and vaginal dryness due to postmenopausal VVA. Areas covered: PubMed was searched from inception to March 2019 with keywords ospemifene and vulvar vaginal atrophy to review preclinical and clinical data describing the safety and efficacy of ospemifene for vaginal dryness and dyspareunia due to VVA. Covered topics include efficacy of ospemifene on vaginal cell populations, vaginal pH, and most bothersome VVA symptoms; imaging studies of vulvar and vaginal tissues; effects on sexual function; and safety of ospemifene on endometrium, cardiovascular system, and breast. Expert opinion: Ospemifene is significantly more effective than placebo in all efficacy analyses studied, working through estrogen receptors and possibly androgen receptors. Safety as assessed by adverse events was generally comparable to that with placebo and to other SERMs, and/or adverse events were not clinically meaningful. No cases of endometrial or breast cancer were reported.
Keywords: Genitourinary syndrome of menopause; menopause; ospemifene; vaginal dryness; vulvovaginal atrophy.