Treating Vaginal Dryness in Breast Cancer Patients: Results of Applying a Polycarbophil Moisturizing Gel

(1994) Journal of Women's Health. 3: 427-433. Gelfand, MM., and Wendman, E.

This study was undertaken to determine whether patients who have a history of breast cancer and who may experience vaginal dryness, vaginal irritation, or dyspareunia will benefit from center, open label, prospective study in women with a history of breast cancer. Twenty-five women who were being treated or who had been treated for breast cancer at the clinic were enrolled from November 1990 through March 1992. Patients were instructed to insert the contents of a prefilled applicator (2.5 g) of Replens (Columbia Laboratories, Miami, FL), a polycarbophil vaginal moisturizing gel, into the vagina three times per week at night for 3 months. Patients were given the option of using an additional application of polycarbophil gel before intercourse, if desired. The main outcome measures were vaginal health assessment index, including the dryness index and measures of vaginal pH, patient acceptance, and the incidence of dyspareunia. There was a statistically significant reduction in mean vaginal pH and an improvement in vaginal moisture, mucosa secretions, and elasticity scores, as well as significant improvement in vaginal health measures, at monthly evaluations during the treatment period. No patients withdrew from the study because of adverse events. Eighty percent of the patients rated the gel as good to excellent as a vaginal moisturizer. This study demonstrates that a polycarbophil moisturizing gel can significantly relieve vaginal dryness in women with a history of breast cancer.