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Last Updated: Monday, 26 March 2007, 10:40 GMT 11:40 UK
Patch 'to boost female sex drive'
About 1m women have early menopause because of surgery
A patch which it is claimed can help women regain their sex drive is set to become available on the NHS.

It is the first treatment for women with low sex drive, but maker Procter and Gamble said it was not promoted as the female equivalent of Viagra.

Intrinsa will only be available on prescription for women who have had an early menopause because of surgery.

Doctors said there was no quick fix for low sex drive, and medical treatment was just one part of the therapy.

There are a variety reasons for low sex drive, such as psychological reasons and the environment the person is in
Dr Jim Kennedy, of the Royal College of GPs

About a million women in the UK have had an early menopause because of surgery to remove their ovaries during hysterectomy for conditions such as heavy bleeding and pelvic pain, Procter and Gamble said.

This procedure leads to a decrease in testosterone, a naturally occurring hormone in women which is a key mediator of sexual desire.

A third of these women end up suffering from low sexual desire and will be entitled to the treatment on prescription.

Intrinsa is a clear patch worn on the abdomen, which delivers a low dose of testosterone.

Trials involving over 500 women who had had hysterectomies found the patch led to a 74% increase in satisfying sex.

It will be available on the NHS from the beginning of April.


Dr Nick Panay, of the Daisy Network, a support group for women with premature menopause, said low sex drive in such women could cause a great deal of distress and concern about their relationship.

"Intrinsa offers real medical hope to these women as studies showed that the patch increases sexual desire and satisfying sexual activity while reducing associated distress."

But GPs said one drug is incapable of addressing the "complex reasons" for low sex drive.

Dr Jim Kennedy, prescribing spokesman for the Royal College of GPs, said: "There are a variety reasons for low sex drive, such as psychological reasons and the environment the person is in, for example if there are children around.

"Doctors will be looking to address all these reasons, they will not just resort to a single medical treatment."

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