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Concept: Libido

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Background Serum testosterone concentrations decrease as men age, but benefits of raising testosterone levels in older men have not been established. Methods We assigned 790 men 65 years of age or older with a serum testosterone concentration of less than 275 ng per deciliter and symptoms suggesting hypoandrogenism to receive either testosterone gel or placebo gel for 1 year. Each man participated in one or more of three trials - the Sexual Function Trial, the Physical Function Trial, and the Vitality Trial. The primary outcome of each of the individual trials was also evaluated in all participants. Results Testosterone treatment increased serum testosterone levels to the mid-normal range for men 19 to 40 years of age. The increase in testosterone levels was associated with significantly increased sexual activity, as assessed by the Psychosexual Daily Questionnaire (P<0.001), as well as significantly increased sexual desire and erectile function. The percentage of men who had an increase of at least 50 m in the 6-minute walking distance did not differ significantly between the two study groups in the Physical Function Trial but did differ significantly when men in all three trials were included (20.5% of men who received testosterone vs. 12.6% of men who received placebo, P=0.003). Testosterone had no significant benefit with respect to vitality, as assessed by the Functional Assessment of Chronic Illness Therapy-Fatigue scale, but men who received testosterone reported slightly better mood and lower severity of depressive symptoms than those who received placebo. The rates of adverse events were similar in the two groups. Conclusions In symptomatic men 65 years of age or older, raising testosterone concentrations for 1 year from moderately low to the mid-normal range for men 19 to 40 years of age had a moderate benefit with respect to sexual function and some benefit with respect to mood and depressive symptoms but no benefit with respect to vitality or walking distance. The number of participants was too few to draw conclusions about the risks of testosterone treatment. (Funded by the National Institutes of Health and others; ClinicalTrials.gov number, NCT00799617 .).

Concepts: Clinical trial, Concentration, ClinicalTrials.gov, Testosterone, Human sexual behavior, Erectile dysfunction, Psychosexual development, Libido

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ABSTRACT Objectives To determine the relationship between the use of combined oral contraceptives (COCs) and sexual desire based on a systematic review of the literature. Methods MEDLINE Complete, Google Scholar and the Cochrane Library were searched for articles published between 1975 and 2011, reporting the effects of oral contraceptives on sexual desire. Reports fully meeting all the predefined criteria were analysed and included in a final reference list. In addition, a review of the reference list of selected articles was carried out. Results We evaluated 36 studies (1978-2011; 13,673 women). Of the COC users (n = 8,422), 85% reported an increase (n = 1,826) or no change (n = 5,358) in libido and 15% reported a decrease (n = 1,238). We found no significant difference in sexual desire in the case of COCs with 20-35 μg ethinylestradiol; libido decreased only with pills containing 15 μg ethinylestradiol. Conclusions The majority of COC users report no significant change in libido although in most studies a decline in plasma levels of free testosterone and an increase in those of sex hormone binding globulin were observed.

Concepts: Evidence-based medicine, Cochrane Library, Combined oral contraceptive pill, Estrogen, Report, Testosterone, MEDLINE, Libido

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Tribulus terrestris as a herbal remedy has shown beneficial aphrodisiac effects in a number of animal and human experiments. This study was designed as a randomized double-blind placebo-controlled trial to assess the safety and efficacy of Tribulus terrestris in women with hypoactive sexual desire disorder during their fertile years. Sixty seven women with hypoactive sexual desire disorder were randomly assigned to Tribulus terrestris extract (7.5 mg/day) or placebo for 4 weeks. Desire, arousal, lubrication, orgasm, satisfaction, and pain were measured at baseline and after 4 weeks after the end of the treatment by using the Female Sexual Function Index (FSFI). Two groups were compared by repeated measurement ANOVA test.

Concepts: Sexual intercourse, Test method, Sexual arousal, Sexual dysfunction, Hypoactive sexual desire disorder, Aphrodisiac, Libido, Tribulus terrestris

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Condition branding is a marketing technique in which companies develop conditions concurrently with developing drugs; examples include gastro-oesophageal reflux disease, premenstrual dysphoric disorder, social anxiety disorder, erectile dysfunction and hypoactive sexual desire disorder. Although it is illegal for pharmaceutical companies to market drugs prior to regulatory approval, there are no restrictions on marketing diseases, and industry seeks to establish a disease state in the minds of clinicians years before an expected drug launch. Continuing medical education (CME) courses are an important part of promotion prior to drug approval and have become a key marketing tool for increasing clinician receptivity to new products. We systematically identified 14 free, internet-based, industry-funded, accredited CME modules on hypoactive sexual desire disorder in women which came out before a new drug, flibanserin, was being considered for regulatory approval in the USA. Common themes in these modules included the following: (1) Hypoactive sexual desire disorder is common, underdiagnosed and can have a profound effect on quality of life. (2) Women may not be aware that they are sick or distressed. (3) Simple questionnaires can assist clinicians in diagnosing the disorder. (4) It is problematic that there are medicines available to treat sexual problems for men but not women. In fact, there is no scientifically established norm for sexual activity, feelings or desire, and there is no evidence that hypoactive sexual desire disorder is a medical condition. Hypoactive sexual desire disorder is a typical example of a condition that was sponsored by industry to prepare the market for a specific treatment.

Concepts: Pharmacology, Medicine, Gastroesophageal reflux disease, Erectile dysfunction, Marketing, Sexual dysfunction, Hypoactive sexual desire disorder, Libido

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Late-onset hypogonadism (LOH) represents a common clinical entity in aging males, characterized by the presence of symptoms (most usually of a sexual nature, such as decreased libido, decreased spontaneous erections and erectile dysfunction) and signs, in combination with low serum testosterone concentrations. Whether testosterone replacement therapy (TRT) should be offered to those individuals is still under extensive debate.

Concepts: Estrogen, Testosterone, Erectile dysfunction, Hypogonadism, Erection, Sexual dysfunction, Andropause, Libido

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Difficulties in sexual desire and function often occur in persons with posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), but many questions remain regarding the mechanisms underlying the occurrence of sexual problems in PTSD.

Concepts: Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor, Complex post-traumatic stress disorder, Posttraumatic stress disorder, Stress, Erectile dysfunction, Sexual dysfunction, Libido

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Finasteride is a synthetic 5-α reductase inhibitor, which prevents the conversion of testosterone to dihydrotestosterone and has been used for more than 20 years in the treatment of male pattern hair loss. Randomized, controlled trials have associated finasteride with both reversible and persistent adverse effects. In this pilot study, we sought to characterize sexual and nonsexual adverse effects that men reported experiencing at least 3 months after stopping the medication. Based on previous research on persistent side effects of finasteride, we constructed an Internet survey targeting six domains: physical symptoms, sexual libido, ejaculatory disorders, disorders of the penis and testes, cognitive symptoms, and psychological symptoms and was e-mailed to patients who reported experiencing symptoms of side effects of finasteride. Responses from 131 generally healthy men (mean age, 24 years) who had taken finasteride for male pattern hair loss was included in the analysis. The most notable finding was that adverse effects persisted in each of the domains, indicating the possible presence of a “post-finasteride syndrome.”

Concepts: Psychology, Pharmacology, Chemotherapy, Symptoms, Testosterone, Puberty, Dihydrotestosterone, Libido

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Combining insights from Freud and Weber, this article explores whether Protestants (vs. Catholics and Jews) are more likely to sublimate their taboo feelings and desires toward productive ends. In the Terman sample (Study 1), Protestant men and women who had sexual problems related to anxieties about taboos and depravity had greater creative accomplishments, as compared to those with sexual problems unrelated to such concerns and to those reporting no sexual problems. Two laboratory experiments (Studies 2 and 3) found that Protestants produced more creative artwork (sculptures, poems, collages, cartoon captions) when they were (a) primed with damnation-related words, (b) induced to feel unacceptable sexual desires, or © forced to suppress their anger. Activating anger or sexual attraction was not enough; it was the forbidden or suppressed nature of the emotion that gave the emotion its creative power. The studies provide possibly the first experimental evidence for sublimation and suggest a cultural psychological approach to defense mechanisms. (PsycINFO Database Record © 2013 APA, all rights reserved).

Concepts: Psychology, Experiment, All rights reserved, Feeling, Copyright, Libido, Protestant Reformation, Catholic Church

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Late onset hypogonadism (LOH) is the most commonly used term to indicate the age-dependent reduction of testosterone. Sexual dysfunction represents the most important determinant for medical consultation and the most specific symptoms associated with LOH. In particular, data from the European Male Ageing Study (EMAS), a population-based survey on more than 3400 subjects, recognized that a triad of sexual symptoms (low libido and reduced spontaneous and sex-related erections) is the only syndromic association with decreased testosterone levels. Accordingly, a meta-analysis of the available randomized controlled trials documented that testosterone therapy (TTh) is able to improve all aspects of sexual function when compared to placebo. Despite this evidence, however, the relative clinical significance and the potential benefit of TTh in LOH are still the subject of strong criticisms in the scientific community. The debate is further complicated by the recent position statement of the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) emphasizing a possible increased cardiovascular risk of TTh. However, this position was not endorsed by the European Medicines Association (EMA), which reached an opposite position after a specific review of the available data. In this review, all the conflicting data supporting the different positions of the FDA and EMA will be discussed. In particular, data derived from either population-based studies or interventional trials will be analyzed in detail. Although some evidence suggests an increase in TTh-related cardiovascular risk, the data derived from controlled trials do not support this position especially when the incidence of major adverse cardiovascular events are considered. Symptomatic men with documented reduced testosterone levels can be safely treated with TTh.

Concepts: Pharmacology, Cardiovascular disease, Randomized controlled trial, Testosterone, Erectile dysfunction, Food and Drug Administration, Sexual dysfunction, Libido

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Erectile dysfunction and decreased libido are common complaints in the older male population. Recent studies have elucidated the role testosterone therapy (TTh) can play in men with low testosterone levels. The aim of this review is to provide an overview of these findings and the utility of TTh. We specifically examine the role of TTh on erectile function, coadministration with phosphodiesterase type 5 inhibitors, and libido.

Concepts: Osteoporosis, Sociology, Testosterone, Erectile dysfunction, Hypogonadism, Anabolic steroid, Sexual dysfunction, Libido