Promising New Menopause Drugs Being Developed

Toni Hurst Health Guide
  • For those of us suffering from menopausal symptoms, help is on the way. Or MAY be on the way. Several new drugs are in development that promise relief for some of menopause's most annoying symptoms.  These drugs are not approved for use by the FDA yet, so don't expect your health care provider to prescribe them. Some are just now going through trials.


    One, called Menerba, shows promise in relieving hot flashes without hormone replacement therapy's side effects. What a huge market exists for that drug!


    Its manufacturer says that Menerba was able to reduce "night awakenings" from menopausal hot flashes at a statistically significant level. Further, the company says since the product is a botanical (made from a plant), it has less likelihood of creating serious adverse side effects, unlike hormone replacement therapy.

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    According to the company, Bionovo,  "Menerba does not activate the estrogen receptor known to be implicated in both breast and uterine cancer formation. Our studies demonstrate that Menerba will not increase the risks for either breast or uterine cancer." Moreover, they say Menerba will not result in an increased risk for blood clots, which are sometimes a threat when using hormones like estrogen. 


    The drug underwent 2-week trials at various dosages, with significant decrease in all hot flashes in the higher dosages.


    The same company is working on another drug for one of menopause's most cruel side effects: vaginal dryness which results in painful intercourse. Vaginal estrogen therapies in the form of creams, vaginal rings, and slow-release vaginal tablets have also been used to treat vaginal dryness, however your body absorbs these estrogens, especially at the beginning of treatment when the vaginal lining is thin. While the risks associated with estrogen diminish with topical treatment rather than taking a pill, there are still risks.

    The new drug is a non-steroidal vaginal suppository called Seala, to treat the symptoms associated with vaginal atrophy.


    (Does anyone else see the irony here? Seala sounds a lot like Cialis, the drug some men take for erectile dysfunction. I can imagine a lot of bedroom discussions starting out something like this: "Honey, did you take your Cialis?" "Yes dear, and did you take your Seala?")


    Work on Seala is not as far along as that for Menerba. Human trials have not yet begun; animal trials looked promising, according to the company. I don't know about you, but I  really don't care about a female rat's vaginal dryness problems.

    I'll keep following these two drugs and let you know more. I'm also following some other drug trials and will write about them soon. It gives me great comfort to know that scientists are out there working on a possible solution to our many menopausal problems!

Published On: June 04, 2009