One-year treatment persistence with local estrogen therapy in postmenopausal women diagnosed as having vaginal atrophy

David Portman*, Lee Shulman, Jason Yeaw, Sha Zeng, Chioma Uzoigwe, Ricardo Maamari, Neeraj N. Iyer

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

25 Scopus citations


Objective: Estrogen therapy is considered to be the most effective treatment of vaginal atrophy (VA) symptoms. This retrospective study compares rates of pharmacy refill-based treatment persistence in women treated for VA with local estrogen therapy (LET) creams versus low-dose vaginally administered tablets. Methods: Study cohort included treatment-naive women aged 45 years or older within the IMS PharMetrics Plus claims database who filled one or more prescriptions for a LET cream or tablet between January 1, 2010 and September 30, 2012. Index LET was the first observed LET claim in pharmacy records. Persistence was defined as the number of consecutive days of treatment available of the index LET during the 12-month follow-up period. In adjusted analyses, we compared the risks of discontinuation of index therapy. Results: Of 30,197 women eligible for analysis, 12,187 (40.4%) initiated treatment with conjugated estrogens vaginal cream, 11,574 (38.3%) initiated treatment with estradiol vaginal cream, and 6,436 (21.3%) initiated treatment with 10-mg vaginal estradiol tablets (formulation introduced in 2010). Cohorts were comparable on age, geography, and baseline comorbidities. During the 12-month follow-up period, 86.2% to 89.4% of cream users discontinued LET after the first prescription compared with 57.8% of tablet users (P<0.0001). A greater proportion of tablet initiators than cream users were fully (100%) persistent during the 12-month follow-up period. Mean treatment duration was 103.4 days for tablets versus 44.6 to 48.1 days for creams (P<0.0001). After adjustment for baseline characteristics, tablet initiators had a lower risk of discontinuation compared with cream users (P<0.0001). Conclusions: Low-dose LET tablets, compared with cream formulations, are associated with greater persistence in the treatment of VA.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1197-1203
Number of pages7
Issue number11
StatePublished - Oct 27 2015


  • Genitourinary syndrome of menopause
  • Local estrogen therapy
  • Persistence
  • Treatment
  • Vaginal atrophy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Obstetrics and Gynecology


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