Do testosterone patches help women with under-active pituitary glands?

New research published today in The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism showed the first positive effect of testosterone on bone density, body composition and emotional, cognitive and behavioral function in women with low testosterone levels resulting from under-active pituitary glands.

Loss of ovarian and/or adrenal function can cause many women to experience hypopituitarism or under-active pituitary glands, and therefore low levels of testosterone, which is responsible for producing estrogen. This lack of testosterone can be blamed for loss of sex drive, loss of muscle tone and decrease of cognitive sharpness.

Researchers, led by Karen K. Miller, M.D., wanted to determine whether using physiological testosterone replacement in the form of dermal patches would improve (1) bone density, (2) body composition and (3) neuro-behavioral function in these women with low testosterone levels resulting from hypopituitarism.

Fifty-one women of reproductive age with low testosterone levels from hypopituitarism participated in this 12-month study by wearing a testosterone-administering patch that delivered 300 mcg daily or a placebo. Researchers analyzed bone density, fat-free mass and fat mass, as well as thigh muscle and abdominal area. Mood, sexual function, quality of life and cognitive function were assessed by questionnaire.

Results demonstrated an encouraging effect, with few side effects, and may prove to be useful in the clinical setting for women with low testosterone levels resulting from under-active pituitary glands.

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Founded in 1916, The Endocrine Society is the world's oldest, largest, and most active organization devoted to research on hormones, and the clinical practice of endocrinology. Endocrinologists are specially trained doctors who diagnose, treat and conduct basic and clinical research on complex hormonal disorders such as diabetes, thyroid disease, osteoporosis, obesity, hypertension, cholesterol and reproductive disorders. Today, The Endocrine Society's membership consists of over 13,000 scientists, physicians, educators, nurses and students, in more than 80 countries. Together, these members represent all basic, applied, and clinical interests in endocrinology. The Endocrine Society is based in Chevy Chase, Maryland. To learn more about the Society, and the field of endocrinology, visit the Society's web site at www.endo-society.org


Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 21 Feb 2009
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