Hormone Patch May Raise Women's Desire for Sex
More Desire, Sexual Satisfaction Reported by Hysterectomy Patients
WebMD News Archive
When surveys were repeated, women wearing the testosterone patch reported
increased sexual desire and more frequent satisfying sexual experiences
compared with those wearing the fake patch.
Women wearing the fake patch also reported improvements, but not as much as
with the real testosterone patches.
Several testosterone doses were tested. Benefits were seen with the
mid-level dose (300 micrograms) but not the low dose. A higher dose wasn't more
beneficial, write the researchers.
The study was funded by Proctor & Gamble Pharmaceuticals, the
testosterone patch's maker.
The patches were "well tolerated," write the researchers. All groups
had similar proportions of patients reporting acne, hirsutism (unwanted hair),
and other hormonal side effects.
Skin reactions to the patches were "mild or moderate," write the
researchers. They didn't note major changes in cholesterol, blood fats, or
However, the study only lasted 24 weeks. Long-term effects were not
Braunstein's team calls the improvements "modest ... yet statistically
significant." The findings "highlight the important role that
testosterone may play in women's sexual health," they write.
The researchers call for more studies of the testosterone patch's safety and
also sponsored by Proctor & Gamble, also
reported improved sexual desire in women.
The 'Goldilocks' Effect
The study "raises many questions about what is the 'just-right' dose of
testosterone," writes Robert Vigersky, MD, of the Walter Reed Army Medical
Vigersky didn't work on the study. He wrote an editorial about it for the
He likens the hunt for the best dose of testosterone to the nursery rhyme
character Goldilocks, who sought a "just-right" chair, bed, and bowl of
"Goldilocks has been around for almost 200 years," he writes.
"Should she ever develop [low sexual desire], it is still not clear if a
300-microgram testosterone [skin] patch is 'just right' for her. Hopefully,
further studies will be available when and if she needs to be treated."
Increasing Sex From 'Seldom' to 'Sometimes'
The testosterone patch most notably improved in two areas: sexual desire and
satisfying sexual experiences, writes Vigersky.
"The testosterone treatment only raised the level of sexual function
from 'seldom' to 'sometimes,'" he writes. Vigersky also calculates that the
women only got two extra satisfying sexual episodes per month (an increase from
three events to five events).