ORIGINAL RESEARCH—ENDOCRINOLOGY: Transdermal Testosterone Gel prn Application for Hypoactive Sexual Desire Disorder in Premenopausal Women: A Controlled Pilot Study of the Effects on the Arizona Sexual Experiences Scale for Females and Sexual Function Questionnaire


RH Belmaker, MD, Beer-Sheba Mental Health Center, PO Box 4600, Beer-Sheba, Israel. Tel: (972 7) 640-1602; Fax: (972 7) 640-1621; E-mail: belmaker@bgumail.bgu.ac.il


Introduction.  Several studies suggest that increased plasma testosterone can improve sexual function and desire in post-oophorectomy or postmenopausal women. However, side effects of chronic daily testosterone raise questions about the generalizability of this treatment approach. Sublingual testosterone was reported to cause testosterone levels to peak after 15 minutes and then decline to baseline levels within 90 minutes. Three to 4 hours after reaching testosterone peak, increased genital sensations and sexual lust were reported.

Aim.  We hypothesized that a singe dose of testosterone given 4–8 hours prior to planned intercourse in women with hypoactive sexual desire disorder (HSDD) might increase desire without side effects associated with chronic use.

Methods.  The design was randomized double-blind crossover. Premenstrual women with HSDD received eight packets of gel or identical placebo for use before intercourse twice weekly for 1 month. For a second month, the alternate treatment was given.

Main Outcome Measures.  Ratings were performed using the patient-rated Arizona Sexual Experiences Scale for females and the clinician-rated Sexual Function Questionnaire (SFQ-V1).

Results.  Ten patients completed the study. On the five-item self-report Arizona, the item “How easily are you aroused?” was significantly improved on testosterone gel vs. placebo, P = 0.03. There were similar trends on the physician-rated SFQ-V1 “arousal–sensation” cluster.

Conclusions.  These preliminary results suggest that testosterone gel given prn before intercourse has effects on sexual arousal, and further research is needed to define dosage and time schedule to optimize this effect and determine its clinical relevance. Chudakov B, Ben Zion IZ, and Belmaker RH. Transdermal testosterone gel prn application for hypoactive sexual desire disorder in premenopausal women: A controlled pilot study of the effects on the Arizona Sexual Experiences Scale for females and Sexual Function Questionnaire. J Sex Med 2007;4:204–208.