A new study from Australia shows that testosterone may increase the female libido without the negative side effects. Women who take antidepressants are prone to a lower sexual drive and with no FDA approved drugs to keep track of and increase the female libido, women often feel left in the dark.
Participating women were divided in two groups and all women felt their libido had dropped since they started taking antidepressants. One group wore a testosterone patch, while the other was given a placebo. The testosterone that was used resulted into a significant increase in sexual drive compared to before the study, while women who were given the placebo had not encountered any change or improvement in their sexual drive at all.
The amount of testosterone the women were exposed to was closely monitored by researchers and medical experts and no negative side effects were seen on the women who wore the testosterone patch. In an interview with The Journal of Sexual Medicine, the researchers explain, “This study is evidence that testosterone therapy may increase the female libido, caused by the use of antidepressants. It also is the first evidence that there are no negative side effects, as long as the therapy is closely monitored by medical experts.”
Dr. Lynn Schuster, a women’s health specialist, explains she is very excited about the results of the study. “There are currently no good treatments to improve the female libido and it is a common problem that is caused by antidepressants. Normally, women who experience a lower libido due to antidepressants either discontinue the medication or experience a lower quality of their sex life and therefore their relationship.” At the same time, Schuster is aware of the possible risks. “Any use more than the amount that is provided by a medical expert may result into serious side effects.”
The side effects of too much testosterone are known to be male characteristics, including hair growth and a deepening of the voice, but this new study shows that testosterone therapy through a patch can actually work. Medical experts in the U.S.; however, think that the FDA is reluctant to approve testosterone therapy for women and some even think it is a political issue rather than a medical or science issue. The FDA has approved 24 drugs to treat sexual issues in men, while, even though many women have participated in lengthy studies with positive results, there are no drugs approved for women to help increase their libido.
The Women’s Initiative in Sexual Health (WISH) was established to raise public awareness about the importance of female sexual health. Leading women’s sexual health experts are working together to let the government agencies know that many women in the U.S. are in need of some form of therapy and according to WISH, 43 percent of women suffer from sexual dysfunction. WISH is currently working on getting a million signatures on a petition, which will be presented to the FDA, stating that there should be an equal amount of emphasis on women’s sexual health as there has been on men’s sexual health in the past years. WISH encourages women to sign the petition by visiting yourvoiceyourwish.com.
Testosterone therapy for women has been approved in other countries. A drug called Intrinsa was tested positive to improve the female libido, but Schuster states the FDA requires more studies before they will approve it. The FDA also showed their concerns with regards to the use of the drug for something that is not approved to be treated, but according to Schuster, now that the Australian study shows testosterone may increase the female libido without side effects, the FDA should make plans to offer women in the U.S. an option.
By Diana Herst