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"Patch may repair women's libidos: Testosterone helps increase sexual desire"

Edmonton Journal

Source: Edmonton Journal

Published: 26 Jul 2022

Category: Pharmaceutical

Rating: (3 stars)

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

TORONTO - A skin patch that delivers steady doses of the hormone testosterone may help boost sexual desire and the frequency of satisfying sex in women who lose their desire after medically induced menopause, a study suggests.

The testosterone patch, which is in the testing stage and not yet approved in Canada or anywhere else, was found to increase sexual desire 67 per cent, compared to 48 per cent for women wearing a dummy patch; the amount of sexual activity rose 79 per cent for those on the patch versus 43 per cent in the placebo group.

Researchers led by Dr. Glenn Braunstein of Cedars-Sinai Medical Centre in Los Angeles found the 300-microgram per day dose showed the greatest effect on sexual desire and activity. The effects of the testosterone patch were "clinically significant," Braunstein said Monday from Los Angeles, noting that some questionnaire scores were almost double that of those in the placebo group.

how did it rate? (more information)

Criteria Rating
Total Score 5 of 9
Availability of Treatment Satisfactory (?)
Novelty of Treatment Satisfactory (?)
Disease Mongering Not Satisfactory (?)
Treatment Options Not Satisfactory (?)
Costs of Treatment Not Applicable
Evidence Not Satisfactory (?)
Quantification of Benefits of Treatment 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 disappointing story about the use of testosterone in female sexual dysfunction. Even though the absolute numbers are reported in terms of benefit, we have no idea how central concepts, such as sexual desire, are measured.

While it is welcome that the writer chose to report conflicting opinions, the underlying message seems to be that medicating desire is normal and thus it is valid to be testing testosterone for such purposes. No other treatment options are mentioned, nor are the harms of treatment quantified.

Further background information, such as long-term safety data, and why the FDA refused to approve the patch, would also be helpful.

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