LOS ANGELES -- According to a study published in the Sept. 7 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine, an experimental testosterone patch improved the sexual function and psychological well-being of women who had undergone surgical menopause (removal of the ovaries and uterus).
Seventy-five women between ages 31 and 56 enrolled in the study, the first ever conducted with a testosterone skin patch to treat sexual problems in surgically menopausal women, according to Glenn D. Braunstein, M.D., Chair of the Department of Medicine at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center. Of the original 75 participants, 18 withdrew or were removed from the study because of personal, medical or compliance issues.
Cedars-Sinai was one of nine participating research centers in the United States.
Despite receiving estrogen replacement therapy, many women whose ovaries are surgically removed experience decreased sexual desire, activity and pleasure, and they have a reduced sense of general well-being. The ovaries produce about half of the testosterone that circulates in the bloodstream of premenopausal women, with the other half contributed by the adrenal glands.
Each of the women in the study had had both ovaries and her uterus removed before natural menopause, at least one year but not more than 10 years earlier. All of those qualifying to participate expressed dissatisfaction with their sexual function and had low scores on a standardized measurement of female sexuality.
After screening and a four-week base-line period, the women participated in three consecutive 12-week treatment periods, receiving two abdominal patches that were changed twice a week. The sexual functioning questionnaire and an assessment of psychological well-being were repeated at the end of the initial four-week base-line period and at the end of each 12-week treatment period.
During one treatment phase, both patches were inactive (placebo), containing no testosterone. During another 12-week pe
Contact: Anita Roark
Cedars-Sinai Medical Center