Treatment with a patch containing the hormone testosterone can increase sexual desire and activity in women who experience reduced sexual desire after surgical removal of the ovaries.
The findings are based on a study of 447 women diagnosed with Hypoactive sexual desire disorder (HSDD) after ovarian surgery, who were randomly assigned to receive testosterone patches, at one of three doses, or placebo for 24 weeks. A total of 318 women completed the trial.
Compared with placebo, the intermediate-dose testosterone patch significantly improved sexual desire and increased the frequency of satisfying sexual activity, lead author Dr. Glenn D. Braunstein, from Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, and colleagues report in the Archives of Internal Medicine.
The lower testosterone dose offered no benefits, whereas the higher dose was no better than the intermediate dose.
The testosterone patch was well tolerated at the doses studied and no serious adverse effects were seen, the report indicates.
While the findings suggest a role for testosterone patches in the treatment of HSDD, the author of a related editorial comments that the optimal dose remains to be determined.
Likening the search for the right dose to “Goldilocks and the Three Bears,” Dr. Robert A. Vigersky, from the Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington, DC, notes that it is still unclear if the intermediate-dose patch is “just right.”
Vigersky adds that the “benefits found by Braunstein and colleagues are modest and not clearly dose related.”
SOURCE: Archives of Internal Medicine, July 25, 2005.
Revision date: June 21, 2011
Last revised: by Jorge P. Ribeiro, MD