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Hormone Patch May Heat Up Women's Desires

Clinical trials under way for post-menopausal women

MONDAY, Aug. 19, 2002 (HealthDayNews) -- A skin patch that may help restore sexual desire in post-menopausal women is being tested in clinical trials at more than 150 sites in the United States and Canada.

The thin, nearly transparent hormone patch is worn on the abdomen. It's main ingredient is testosterone, a hormone long-associated with sexual desire and aggresiveness in men.

Millions of women have decreased sexual desire because of lower hormone levels following menopause or hysterectomy. That can lead to frustration, unhappiness and relationship problems.

"More than 40 million women suffer from the lack of sexual desire, which often leads to personal distress or relationship issues," says Sheryl Kingsberg, a clinical psychologist at MacDonald Women's Hospital at University Hospitals of Cleveland, one of the study sites.

"Since no medications currently are approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for the treatment of diminished sexual desire, these clinical studies are an important step in the development of new therapeutic options to help many women and their partners regain a satisfactory sex life," Kingsberg says.

It's estimated that about 43 percent of women have experienced some form of difficulty in their sexual function, compared to about 31 percent of men.

This isn't the first trial involving testosterone and women. John Hopkins researchers conducted similar experiments last year, and a trial is also being conducted at New York University Medical Center.

The decline in a woman's sexual desire can be accompanied by other problems, such as inability to achieve orgasm.

More Information

Physicians, researchers and post-menopausal women continue to search for ways to deal with some of the problems that come along after menopause. Lately, there's been debate over when and if a woman should have hormone replacement therapy (HRT).

This report from the National Institutes of Health, called The Women's Health Initiative, sums up all the new information about HRT's risks since a major July 2002 report was issued.

SOURCE: University Hospitals of Cleveland, news release, August 2002
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