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Testosterone Not Beneficial for Female Sexual Dysfunction

Review of recent studies suggests patch has limited effects on sexual function, potential risks

WEDNESDAY, Mar. 4 (HealthDay News) -- Hypoactive sexual desire disorder is a common condition in Western women, but evidence suggests that treatment with transdermal testosterone patches is ineffective and potentially risky, according to an article published in the March issue of the Drug and Therapeutics Bulletin.

The authors cited data showing that the prevalence of female hypoactive sexual desire disorder is 6 to 13 percent in the United Kingdom, Germany, Italy and France, and 12 to 19 percent in the United States. They reviewed recent studies of Intrinsa, a transdermal testosterone patch approved in the United Kingdom for treating women with hypoactive sexual desire disorder who have undergone surgically induced menopause as a result of bilateral salpingo-oophorectomy and hysterectomy, and are receiving estrogen replacement therapy.

The authors caution that Intrinsa's long-term safety is unknown because studies have only been conducted up to 24 weeks. They also cited warnings from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration that chronic use of Intrinsa could be associated with an increased risk of breast malignancies, cardiovascular disease and other adverse events.

"The published evidence so far is based on highly selected women and only shows small improvements in sexual parameters and large placebo responses," the authors conclude. "Also, the long-term safety of the treatment is unknown. Unwanted effects are common and not always reversible. For all these reasons, we cannot recommend Intrinsa for the use in women with sexual dysfunction."

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