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"Testosterone touted for women suffering from decreased libido"

Edmonton Journal

Source: Edmonton Journal

Published: 21 Sep 2022

Category: Pharmaceutical

Rating: (2 stars)

what they said (Hover the mouse cursor over underlined words for more info)

A new analysis of published research suggests that testosterone therapy may aid many post-menopausal women dealing with loss of libido.

The analysis -- labeled a position statement from the North American Menopause Society (NAMS) and published in its journal, Menopause -- states that testosterone "has a positive effect on sexual function, primarily desire, arousal, and orgasmic response, in women after spontaneous or surgically induced menopause."

The report was sponsored by Procter & Gamble, the maker of Intrinsa, a women's testosterone patch rejected by the Food and Drug Administration last year. It recommends testosterone for post-menopausal women with diminished sexual function, but it says this advice applies only to women taking concurrent estrogen therapy. Not enough evidence exists to make recommendations for women not taking estrogen or for those who wish to use testosterone therapy for longer than six months, the report states..... (originally published in the Washington Post)

The original article can be found at:

how did it rate? (more information)

Criteria Rating
Total Score 4 of 10
Availability of Treatment Not Satisfactory (?)
Novelty of Treatment Satisfactory (?)
Disease Mongering Satisfactory (?)
Treatment Options Not Satisfactory (?)
Costs of Treatment Not Satisfactory (?)
Evidence Not Satisfactory (?)
Quantification of Benefits of Treatment Not Satisfactory (?)
Harms of Treatment Satisfactory (?)
Sources of Information Satisfactory (?)
Relies on Press Release Not Applicable
Quantification of Harms of Treatment Not Satisfactory (?)

what we said (Hover the mouse cursor over underlined words for more info)

This is a report of a 'position statement' from a group that not only relies on pharmaceutical funding for support, but has consistently supported medication for female menopause. It scores badly on nearly every criteria, as it doesn't at any point establish the level of evidence around 'testosterone therapy,' how its positive effects on female sexual function (desire, arousal and orgasmic response) are measured, nor does it quantify benefits or list harms of the treatment.

It does include some helpful caveats, such as the research on testosterone therapy for women longer than six months is not supported by sufficient evidence. Another helpful point is the quotation from an outside source that questions the very basis of testosterone therapy and provides some independent analysis. What is concerning, however, is the lack of clarity around the group producing the position statement, and the financial conflicts of interest that this group may have with manufacturers of testosterone therapy.

The article does not directly address the key concerns that some women's groups have for why they would reject approval of drugs like Intrinsa. These concerns have to do with poor data on testosterone safety and efficacy, inadequacies in establishing precise definitions of sexual desire, concern about pharmaceutical industry marketing involvement and the general tenor that this kind of 'position statement' implies a further medicalization of menopause and sexuality. The author had the perfect opportunity to examine both sides of this controversial debate, but relied too heavily on presenting one side of the story.

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