(HealthDay News) – Evidence suggests that transdermal testosterone patches may relieve symptoms of hypoactive sexual desire disorder (HSDD) in postmenopausal women, according to a review published online Feb. 3 in The Journal of Sexual Medicine.

Susan R. Davis, MBBS, PhD, of Monash University in Melbourne, Australia, and Glenn D. Braunstein, MD, from Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, reviewed the state of current knowledge about the use of transdermal testosterone in the treatment of HSDD as presented in a satellite symposium held during the International Society for the Study of Women’s Sexual Health annual meeting in 2011. Data were supplemented with relevant articles from peer-reviewed literature.

The investigators found that evidence from randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled studies suggests that transdermal testosterone patches are effective in relieving the symptoms of HSDD in postmenopausal women, whether administered alone or with concomitant estrogen or estrogen/progestin. Based on clinical trials, the main side effects were hair growth and acne. Available data were not conclusive, but were reassuring with regard to cardiovascular, breast, and endometrial outcomes. For postmenopausal women with increased cardiovascular risk, interim data showed a continued low rate of cardiovascular events and breast cancer.

“Testosterone can relieve symptoms of HSDD in postmenopausal women. Well-controlled studies with the transdermal testosterone patches have shown improvements in several sexual outcome measures, including satisfying sexual activity, sexual desire, well-being, and distress following short-term treatment,” the authors write.

Both authors disclosed financial ties to pharmaceutical companies, including BioSante Pharmaceuticals Inc., which funded publication of this study and manufactures transdermal testosterone patches.

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