Sex boost on the NHS! 10-fold spike in women getting testosterone gel since being pushed as a libido booster and promoted by Davina McCall… but experts fear it’s being wrongly used as a ‘solution to relationship troubles’
- Use of testosterone gel sored since watchdog advised it could boost sex drive
- But experts say young women are overusing it to fix ‘relationship problems’
- READ MORE: Are private clinics selling men testosterone they will never need?
The number of women prescribed testosterone gel on the NHS has increased ten-fold after it was recommended as a way to boost sex drive.
Experts raised concerns that the treatment is being overused in younger women and is seen as ‘a solution to relationship problems’.
NHS data, obtained through a Freedom of Information request, reveals that a record 4,675 women aged 50 and over were prescribed testosterone gel on the NHS in November 2022.
Use of the sex hormone has soared since November 2015, when the drugs watchdog first advised it could help women combat low sexual desire.
Rates also began to rise more steeply in early 2021 when Davina McCall promoted hormone therapy to help ease menopause symptoms including brain fog and memory loss.
Experts are concerned the testosterone treatment is being overused in younger women to boost their sex drive as a ‘solution to relationship problems’
READ MORE: Are private clinics selling men expensive testosterone they will never need? Proponents insist it could help millions more men in the UK, while sceptics fear it is being over-marketed
This is an increase from 429 women in November 2015.
The number of women aged 49 years and under receiving testosterone gel also increased from 228 in November 2015 to a high of 2,913 in November 2022, the most recent month available.
Usage rates also began to rise more in 2021 when awareness of menopausal symptoms was increasing and the first of Davina McCall’s menopause documentaries aired on Channel 4.
Ms McCall, 55, opened up about her own ‘horrific’ experience with brain fog, as well as hearing from a woman who believed she was developing early onset dementia during the perimenopause.
The former Big Brother host’s documentary strived to eliminate the myths surrounding menopause, and dispel the shame and fear around hormone replacement therapy.
Prescribing of testosterone gel for men has increased by only a third during the same time period, the research by The Pharmaceutical Journal reveals.
The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (Nice) published guidance on the menopause in November 2015 that states clinicians should only consider testosterone supplementation for low libido if hormone replacement therapy alone is not effective.
But experts say they are concerned the treatment is being used inappropriately.
Paula Briggs, a consultant in sexual and reproductive health at Liverpool Women’s NHS Foundation Trust and chair of the British Menopause Society, said there is an issue in the UK with misinformation around the potential benefits of testosterone.
‘Women are being led to believe that it’s the missing piece of the jigsaw, that it’s going to be the solution to their relationship problems,’ she said.
‘I think we have to be much more scientific about how that information is provided for women.
‘It’s coming from celebrities and politicians, and that’s not necessarily appropriate.
‘We don’t have the evidence to say that it improves any of the other symptoms that women I think sometimes are requesting treatment for.’
This could include cognition, mood, energy and musculoskeletal health, she added.
Susan Davis, an Australian hormone expert who is an adviser to the NHS menopause group steering committee, said: ‘We don’t know if the women under 49 receiving testosterone are pre- or postmenopausal — if mainly premenopausal, this is concerning as evidence to support this is lacking.’
There are currently no licensed testosterone treatments for women in the UK, so NHS clinicians prescribe products licensed for men ‘off-label’ at lower doses considered suitable for women.
However, this can be problematic because women often have to estimate the quantity needed and patient information leaflets are inappropriate.
AndroFeme cream was licensed for female use in Australia in 2020 and is currently imported to the UK for private use under a special Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) license.
Company CEO Michael Buckley said he is preparing to submit a marketing authorisation application for AndroFeme to the UK regulator ‘in the near future’.
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