Testosterone patch increases sex drive in surgically menopausal women

October 1, 2005

A 300-?g/d testosterone patch modestly increased sexual desire and frequency of satisfying sexual acts without causing any significant adverse events in surgically menopausal women, according to the results of a 24-week, randomized, placebo-controlled trial.

A 300-μg/d testosterone patch modestly increased sexual desire and frequency of satisfying sexual acts without causing any significant adverse events in surgically menopausal women, according to the results of a 24-week, randomized, placebo-controlled trial.

Somewhere between one third and one half of women undergoing oophorectomy report decreased sexual desire after the procedure. This may be the result of an approximate 50% decrease in circulating testosterone levels and other androgen precursors that typically occurs with removal of both ovaries.

Of 318 women completing the trial, 67% of those using the patch had an increase from baseline in sexual desire, compared to 48% in those given placebo (P=0.05). Similarly 79% of those using the patch versus 43% of those receiving placebo reported an increase in satisfying sexual activity (P=0.049). Another group using a 150-μg/d patch saw no treatment effect, and a group using a 450-μg/d patch had no statistically different results from those in the 300-μg/d or placebo groups.

The author of the editorial also points out that because the study lasted only 24 weeks, the long-term side effects of such treatment cannot be known. And lastly, it is important not to apply the results of the study to naturally menopausal women in whom sexual dysfunction may not be androgen related.

Braunstein GD, Sundwall DA, Katz M, et al. Safety and efficacy of a testosterone patch for the treatment of hypoactive sexual desire disorder in surgically menopausal women: a randomized, placebo-controlled trial. Arch Intern Med. 2005;165:1582-1589.

Vigersky RA. Goldilocks and menopause. Arch Intern Med. 2005;165:1571-1572.