Introduction: Dyspareunia caused by vulvovaginal atrophy is a primary symptom of genitourinary syndrome of menopause (GSM), a chronic, progressive medical condition that results from estrogen and androgen deficiency at menopause. Dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA, prasterone) is an endogenous precursor steroid hormone that is metabolized into both androgens and estrogens that has been recently been approved by the FDA for the treatment of moderate to severe dyspareunia caused by vulvovaginal atrophy secondary to menopause.
Areas covered: This is a comprehensive drug evaluation describing the chemical composition, pharmacokinetics, metabolism, clinical efficacy and safety of dehydroepiandrosterone (prasterone) in the treatment of dyspareunia and VVA secondary to menopause. Preclinical and clinical data suggesting further potential uses, benefits, and contraindications in the genitourinary health of postmenopausal women are also considered.
Expert opinion: Intravaginal dehydroepiandrosterone (prasterone) is effective for the management of dyspareunia secondary to menopause and may be effective in the treatment of other types of sexual dysfunction that are secondary to menopause. Further studies should explore additional dosing regimens and different indications.