New Skin Patch May be Woman’s Viagra

For years, Viagra has been a man’s answer to sexual dysfunction later in life. However, despite the success of this drug for men, there currently are no treatment methods for women with this same problem. However, a study, presented at the 10th World Congress on the Menopause, suggests that hormone replacement therapy administered through a skin patch may improve a woman’s sex drive after menopause.

Female sexual dysfunction is defined as declining libido, slow arousal, difficulty reaching orgasm, and painful intercourse. Prior research indicates testosterone and androgen supplements may promote a woman’s postmenopausal sex drive, but none are approved by the Food and Drug Administration. In addition, side effects such as acne and hair growth are often seen.

After studying a group of 23 postmenopausal women, researchers with the University of Southern California found that women using the patch had higher levels of androgens and a better libido. They conclude that hormone replacement therapy through patch administration allows the body to better use androgens already present, which improves sexual satisfaction.

Oral hormone replacement therapy has the potential to decrease sex drive, as it tends to reduce androgens and increases sex hormone binding globulin, thus lowering levels of testosterone.

Currently, only one estrogen/progestin patch, the CombiPatch, is FDA approved in the United States.

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