Although there are many causes like physical conditions, relationship difficulties, and psychological problems - scientists are looking for a cure' that will equal Viagra® and its rivals for men.
One of the most clear-cut physical changes that cause loss of sexual desire is reduction of testosterone levels following an artificial menopause.
Loss of sectual desire therefore offers a good opportunity to test the effectiveness of testosterone supplementation.
A recent trial of a testosterone patch has been done in women who had their ovaries removed for various reasons, and the results of its safety and effectiveness have been published in the Archives of Internal Medicine.
A questionnaire was used to assess the effectiveness of the Testosterone Patch with Baby Boomer women that have been diagnosed with Female Sexual Dysfunction (FSD), which measures the following 7 domains of sexual function: desire, pleasure, arousal, responsiveness, self-image, orgasm, and related concerns. All adverse effects were recorded, as well as examination of the patch site (abdomen).
The Baby Boomer Women wearing the 300 microgram/day patches had a significantly greater increase from baseline in sexual desire, compared with those wearing the placebo patches: 67% vs. 48%. Those wearing the 150 and 450 microgram/day patches had slightly lesser increases compared with the placebo subjects. Estimates of arousal showed similar changes; the 300 microgram/day patches produced a significant increase over the placebo, with the other two doses of testosterone showing increases, but smaller ones.
There were dose-dependent improvements in orgasm, pleasure, and decreased concerns with sex; the other two domains of sexual function were not affected by testosterone. Additional questions concerning the frequency of pleasurable sexual activity showed a significant increase in the women wearing the 300 microgram/day patches; it was 30% greater than the women receiving the placebo.
Treatment with a transdermal testosterone patch that releases 300 micrograms daily, applied twice a week, showed that it clearly effective in improving sexual desire in women who had lost their ovaries. It's not clear why the 450 microgram/day dosage was marginally less effective; it certainly resulted in higher levels of testosterone in the blood.
If Baby Boomer Women are to take testosterone, the transdermal patch is better than oral forms as it avoids having the hormone going to the liver first, before reaching the 'target' organs; there are therefore lower risks of liver side effects. This has proved to be the case in men taking testosterone to replace age-related decline, and in patients with some forms of depression. It remains to be seen if a testosterone patch will be a useful treatment for types of FSD other than those related to ovary removal.