Patch to Increase Libido for Women Proceeds

Rhett Pardon
NEW ORLEANS — Women may soon get their version of Viagra.

Procter & Gamble — makers of Tide, Crest, Pringles and Mr. Clean — have announced that another clinical trial has demonstrated the effectiveness and safety of its testosterone patch, to be called Intrinsa.

The experimental testosterone patch may help certain women who have lost their lust for sex put some passion back into their lives, the company says. The latest study shows use of the patch increased sexual activity and sexual desire by about 50 percent among women with surgically induced menopause.

The testosterone patch is not yet approved by the FDA for treating women with low sexual desire, but researchers say the results of this phase 3 clinical trial may pave the way for developing new options for treating women with this common problem.

In the study, which was presented this week at the Endocrine Society's annual meeting in New Orleans, researchers compared the effects of using a testosterone patch containing testosterone against a placebo patch in 533 women with hypoactive sexual desire disorder, a form of sexual dysfunction defined as a lack of sexual desire that causes a woman personal distress.

The patches were worn on the skin and changed twice weekly during the 24-week study.

By the end of the study, researchers found that there was a 51 percent increase in sexual activity among the women using the testosterone patch compared with the start of the study. Testosterone is known to increase sexual desire.

There was also a 49 percent increase in sexual desire during this period, Cincinnati, Ohio-based Procter & Gamble Pharmaceuticals said.

The study showed there were also significant increases in other measures of sexual function, such as arousal, orgasm, pleasure, responsiveness and self-image.

The women who were treated with the testosterone patch also reported lower levels of distress.

Researchers say more than 90 percent of the side effects found with the testosterone patch were mild. The most common were irritation at the application site, upper respiratory infection, and excess body hair.