New data suggest testosterone improves postmenopausal libido

Article

A testosterone patch can provide a modest but meaningful improvement in postmenopausal libido for women not taking estrogen.

A testosterone patch can provide a modest but meaningful improvement in postmenopausal libido for women not taking estrogen, according to research published in the Nov. 6 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine.

Susan R. Davis, MD, PhD, of Monash University in Prahran, Australia, and colleagues conducted a double-blind, placebo-controlled trial of 814 women with low libido who were randomized to receive a patch delivering 150 or 300 µg a day of testosterone or placebo for a period of 52 weeks.

At week 24, the researchers measured the efficacy of the hormone and found that for the 300 µg testosterone group, there was an increase in the 4-week frequency of satisfying sexual episodes of 2.1 versus 1.2 for the 150-µg group and 0.7 for the placebo group. Women in both treatment groups reported increased desire and decreased distress, the study showed. However, women in the 300-µg treatment group had more androgenic adverse events, such as unwanted hair growth, the investigators found.

The research was supported by grants from Procter & Gamble Pharmaceuticals. Several of the study authors report financial relationships with the pharmaceutical industry.

Davis SR, Moreau M, Kroll R, et al.Testosterone for low libido in postmenopausal women not taking estrogen. N Engl J Med. 2008;359:2005-2017.

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