Testosterone for low libido in postmenopausal women not using systemic oestrogen therapy

Susan R Davis
Med J Aust 2009; 191 (3): . || doi: 10.5694/j.1326-5377.2009.tb02719.x
Published online: 3 August 2009

Results are promising but long-term safety remains uncertain

Hypoactive sexual desire disorder (HSDD; loss of desire that causes personal distress)1 is common, with proposed prevalences ranging between 8% and 50% (wide variation is due to differences among populations surveyed and questionnaires used).2,3 Women with HSDD have been observed to experience poor sexual self-image, feelings of unattractiveness, fear of disappointing their partners, depression, anxiety and diminished quality of life.4,5 The effect of HSDD on quality of life has been reported as similar in magnitude to the effect of other common chronic conditions, such as diabetes and back pain.5 Furthermore, both men and women reporting a discrepancy between their own and their partner’s sexual desire have lower relationship satisfaction,6 and individuals in sexually inactive marriages report less marital happiness.7 Thus, HSDD merits recognition and intervention. In many cases, counselling and general sex education are helpful. However, the proportion of postmenopausal women who continue to experience HSDD despite good clinical care are left with few options, as there are no approved therapies presently available for this condition.

  • Women’s Health Program, Central and Eastern Clinical School, Monash Medical School, Alfred Hospital, Melbourne, VIC.

Competing interests:

I was the principal investigator for APHRODITE. I have been a consultant to Acrux Australia, Procter and Gamble Pharmaceuticals, Novartis Oncology and AstraZeneca. I have received unrestricted research grants from Procter and Gamble Pharmaceuticals, Bayer Schering, Novartis Oncology and AstraZeneca. I have received honoraria from Organon and Bayer Schering.

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