Testosterone patches boost libido in older women

Wed Nov 5, 2008 5:13pm EST
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By Gene Emery

BOSTON (Reuters) - Think of it as patching up the libido.

A company-sponsored test of Procter & Gamble's Intrinsa testosterone patches for women published on Wednesday found that a high dose of the male hormone gives post-menopausal women a "modest but meaningful" boost in their sex lives after a year.

Before using the patches, the women in the study typically reported 2-1/2 satisfying sexual episodes per month.

Volunteers getting the highest dose reported 2.1additional episodes per month, a significant increase from the placebo group, which reported, on average, fewer than one extra episodes monthly.

Scores on tests measuring desire, orgasm, pleasure, and self image doubled in the high-dose group, the study found.

But the results, published in the New England Journal of Medicine, show that women who want to turn back the clock on their sex drive may have to deal with extra hair growth.

"Most of it was mild, basically," said Susan Davis of Monash University in Melbourne, Australia, who led the study. "It doesn't seem to be an issue for the women. If it had been, you would have seen much greater withdrawals from the treatment groups."

In addition, breast cancer was diagnosed in four of the 534 women in the two treatment groups, but none of the 277 placebo recipients.   Continued...