The first Global Position Statement on the use of testosterone in the treatment of women, led by the International Menopause Society (IMS), was published in four leading international medical journals today. The statement has been authored by a diverse team of leading experts based around the world and has been endorsed by internationally-esteemed medical societies.
It follows years of debate regarding testosterone therapy for women and, for the first time, provides agreement among experts and medical societies about how testosterone could be prescribed for women.
An international task force of experts from leading medical societies, brought together by the IMS, produced the Global Position Statement to provide clear guidance regarding the prescribing and measurement of testosterone for female testosterone therapy as well as advice on testosterone prescribing practices that have the potential to be ineffectual or cause harm.
They concluded that testosterone can be effective at improving sexual wellbeing for postmenopausal women with Hypoactive Sexual Desire Dysfunction (HSDD). Recognised benefits included improved sexual desire, arousal, orgasm and pleasure, together with reduced concerns and distress about sex.
HSDD is thought to affect around 32% of women at midlife; and, while it's common for women to lose interest in sex around the time of the menopause and after, the use of testosterone as a treatment offers women an approach that may significantly improve their sexual and related emotional wellbeing.
Professor Susan Davis, President of the International Menopause Society said:
"This position statement has far reaching global consequences. It not only reassures clinicians that a trial of testosterone therapy is appropriate for women with HSDD, but very emphatically states that, at present, the available evidence does not support the use of testosterone for any other symptoms or medical condition.
"It also clearly advises that when testosterone therapy is given, the resultant blood levels should not be above those seen in healthy young women. We hope this will allow women who may benefit to be offered treatment, and simultaneously protect women from receiving inappropriate testosterone therapy.
"I am very proud that the IMS has led on the development of this crucial medical guidance".
Dr. Sharon Parish, Professor of Clinical Medicine and Professor of Medicine in Clinical Psychiatry at Weill Cornell Medical College added:
"The Global Position Statement has been developed, approved, and endorsed by a broad group of experts from international women's health, sexual medicine, endocrine, gynecological and menopause societies across the world.
"The key messages for clinicians and researchers who care for and study postmenopausal women across a wide array of clinical and research disciplines are that testosterone clearly has positive benefits on sexual function and minimal side effects and low risk profiles, and is a very important and critical treatment option for postmenopausal women with HSDD."
The international panel is calling on industry, researchers, and funding organisations to recognise the need for further research into testosterone therapy for women of all ages and the development and licensing of products formulated specifically for women.
The statement was developed by a multinational, multidisciplinary task force, the members of which were delegates from leading medical societies, and was peer reviewed by expert committees of endorsing societies from across the world. It has been translated into 13 languages and aims to improve the sexual wellbeing of women on a global scale.