Safety and efficacy of transdermal testosterone for treatment of hypoactive sexual desire disorder

Author(s): Talya Waldman, Chrisandra L Shufelt, Glenn D Braunstein

Hypoactive sexual desire disorder is a significant life-stressor prevalent among women of all ages worldwide. Androgens have been shown to maintain healthy female sexual function and testosterone supplementation has been used as an off-label treatment modality in the USA via oral, intramuscular, pellet or transdermal routes of delivery. It is hypothesized that transdermal testosterone delivery may be safer than other regimens because it bypasses first-pass hepatic metabolism. This article examines the current research on efficacy and safety of transdermal testosterone for the treatment of hypoactive sexual desire disorder. Although multiple randomized-controlled clinical trials have demonstrated that transdermal testosterone improves female sexual function with minimal side effects, long-term safety data is still needed, specifically to elucidate the possible long-term risks of breast cancer and cardiovascular disease.