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Vaginal Moisturizer, Estradiol Tablet No Better Than Placebo

Reduction of vulvovaginal symptoms in postmenopausal women similar in all three groups

TUESDAY, March 20, 2018 (HealthDay News) — Neither low-dose vaginal estradiol tablets nor a vaginal moisturizer reduces postmenopausal vulvovaginal symptoms more than placebo vaginal tablets and gel, according to a study published online March 19 in JAMA Internal Medicine.

Caroline M. Mitchell, M.D., from Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, and colleagues enrolled postmenopausal women with moderate-to-severe symptoms of vulvovaginal itching, pain, dryness, irritation, or pain with penetration in a 12-week multicenter randomized clinical trial. Participants were randomized to receive a vaginal 10-µcg estradiol tablet plus placebo gel (102 women), a placebo tablet plus vaginal moisturizer (100 women), or dual placebo (100 women).

The researchers found that the commonly reported most bothersome symptom (MBS) was pain with vaginal penetration followed by vulvovaginal dryness (60 and 21 percent, respectively). The treatment groups had similar mean baseline MBS severity (estradiol, 2.4; moisturizer, 2.5; and placebo, 2.5). Similar reductions were seen in MBS severity for all treatment groups over 12 weeks (estradiol, −1.4; moisturizer, −1.2; and placebo, −1.3). There were no significant differences seen between estradiol or moisturizer and placebo. The mean total improvements in Female Sexual Function Index were similar between the estradiol and placebo groups and the moisturizer and placebo groups.

“Our results suggest that neither prescribed vaginal estradiol tablet nor over-the-counter vaginal moisturizer provides additional benefit over placebo vaginal tablet and gel in reducing postmenopausal vulvovaginal symptoms,” the authors write.

Several authors disclosed financial ties to the pharmaceutical industry.

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