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J Gend Specif Med. 2002 Jul-Aug;5(4):21-7.

Safety and efficacy of topical nitroglycerin for treatment of vulvar pain in women with vulvodynia: a pilot study.

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  • 1Department of Medicine, Geriatrics Division, University of California, Los Angeles Medical Center, Los Angeles, CA, USA.



To evaluate the safety and efficacy of topical nitroglycerin cream for the treatment of vulvar pain in women with vulvodynia.


A total of 34 women diagnosed with vulvodynia were included in this study. Patients were treated with 0.2% nitroglycerin cream in the clinic. The cream was applied directly to the skin at the genital/vulvar area where the pain was located. Patients who did not experience any adverse side effects were instructed to use the cream at home at least three times per week, 5-10 minutes prior to sexual relations. Patients completed a pretreatment pain scale at baseline and a posttreatment pain scale questionnaire 4-6 weeks later.


Twenty-one patients completed both the pre- and posttreatment pain scale questionnaires, and 13 patients completed only the posttreatment pain questionnaire. Thirty-one patients (91.5%) stated that "overall" their pain had improved. Analysis of the pre- and posttreatment questionnaires revealed a significant decrease in pain intensity on a scale of 0 (no pain) to 5 (excruciating pain; 3.95-2.57; P < .000). There was also a significant decrease in the frequency of overall painful episodes on a scale of 0 (never) to 4 (always; 3.25-2.15, P < .006). All 21 patients reported "improvement" of pain during sexual activity (3.65-2.15; P < .005).


Topical nitroglycerin is safe and effective in providing temporary relief of introital dyspareunia and vulvar pain in women with vulvodynia. Women who completed this study experienced significant improvement in their overall pain and pain with sexual activity after nitroglycerin use. A larger placebo-controlled study is necessary to establish the optimum dosage level and to minimize the side effects.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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