Transdermal testosterone failed to increase libido in female cancer survivors . . .

September 1, 2007

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. . . according to the results of a phase III, randomized, placebo-controlled, crossover trial.

Researchers studied 150 postmenopausal cancer survivors with no evidence of current disease who reported a decrease in sexual desire and had a sexual partner. An important distinction is that the women were estrogen replete. Unlike in other recent placebo-controlled trials reporting a benefit of transdermal testosterone on libido, the women in this trial were receiving no other hormone therapy of any kind. The women received either 2% testosterone in Vanicream for a testosterone dose of 10 mg daily or placebo cream for 4 weeks and were then crossed over to the opposite treatment for an additional 4 weeks.

Women receiving the active testosterone cream had higher serum levels of bioavailable testosterone than the women receiving the placebo, but this did not translate into a change in libido; the average intrapatient libido change from baseline to weeks 4 and 8 was similar in both groups.

Barton DL, Wender DB, Sloan JA, et al. Randomized controlled trial to evaluate transdermal testosterone in female cancer survivors with decreased libido; North Central Cancer Treatment Group Protocol N02C3. J Natl Cancer Inst. 2007;99:672-679.