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Testosterone patches boost libido in postmenopausal women

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Testosterone patches can be used to improve libido among postmenopausal women who are not receiving oestrogen therapy, a study has shown.

Findings were based on a 52-week trial of 814 women with hypoactive sexual desire disorder were randomly assigned to receive a patch delivering either 150 or 300 µg of testosterone per day or a placebo.

Efficacy measured until week 24 and safety was evaluated after a year.

Findings showed the increase in the 4-week frequency of satisfying sexual episodes was significantly greater in the group receiving 300 µg of testosterone – an increase of 2.1 episodes vs 0.7 in the control group.

However the rate of androgenic adverse events, such as unwanted hair growth, was higher in the 300 µg group, occurring in 30% of patients compared with 23.1% in the control group.

Authors wrote: ‘In postmenopausal women not receiving estrogen therapy, treatment with a patch delivering 300 µg of testosterone per day resulted in a modest but meaningful improvement in sexual function.’

New England Journal of Medicine (2008) 359:2005-2017

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