How Does It Work?

As mentioned, ospemifene belongs to a group of medications called selective estrogen receptor modulators. SERMs work by binding to estrogen receptors in the body. Estrogen receptors are slightly different in various areas of the body. Therefore, in some body tissues, SERMs bind to the estrogen receptor and have actions like estrogen. In other body tissues, however, SERMs bind to estrogen receptors and block the effects of estrogen.
During menopause, a woman's body makes less estrogen. As a result, estrogen levels drop. This drop causes changes to occur in and around the vagina, including thinning of the vaginal tissue and dryness. These changes can lead to painful intercourse.
Ospemifene works to treat painful intercourse by acting like estrogen in the vaginal tissue. As a result, the changes in the vagina that occurred from low estrogen levels improve, which reduces the amount of pain a woman experiences during sex.

Clinical Effects for Ospemifene

The effectiveness of ospemifene has been evaluated in clinical studies. In these studies, postmenopausal women who had vaginal atrophy (thinning and inflammation of the vaginal walls) due to menopause were given either ospemifene or a placebo (a "sugar pill" with no active ingredients). Women who reported painful sexual intercourse as their most bothersome symptom had an improvement in the amount of pain they experienced during sex when given ospemifene.  

When and How to Take This Medicine

Some general considerations to keep in mind during treatment with ospemifene include the following:
  • This medication comes in tablet form. It is taken by mouth once a day.
  • You should take ospemifene with food.
  • You can take ospemifene any time of day. Try to take your dose at about the same time each day, however, to keep an even level of the medication in your blood.
  • For the medication to work properly, it must be taken as prescribed.
Last reviewed by: Kristi Monson, PharmD
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