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Effect of 1-year, low-dose DHEA therapy
on climacteric symptoms and female sexuality

December 2011
A. R. Genazzani*, M. Stomati†, V. Valentino*, N. Pluchino*, E. Potì‡, E. Casarosa*, S. Merlini*, A. Giannini* and M. Luisi*
*Department of Reproductive Medicine and Child Development, Division of Gynecology and Obstetrics, University of Pisa

La DHEA, une alternative au traitement hormonal de la ménopause ? : Les chercheurs concluent que les femmes recevant un traitement d’un an par voie orale de DHEA à une dose quotidienne de 10 mg améliorent leurs symptômes de la ménopause de manière similaire aux femmes recevant une HTS ou la tibolone. La DHEA pourrait donc, sous réserve de confirmation par des études plus larges être une alternative aux traitements hormonaux existants.
A suivre...

Background Sexual desire is affected by endocrine and psychosocial factors. Menopausal hormonal changes are relevant to the causes of sexual dysfunction during reproductive aging.

Aim To evaluate the effects of different types of hormonal replacement therapy (HRT) on sexual function, frequency of sexual intercourse, and quality of relationship in early postmenopausal women. We recruited 48 healthy postmenopausal women aged 50–60 years (mean age 54.5 ± 3.3 years). Women with climacteric symptoms were uniformly randomized into three groups receiving either dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA 10 mg) daily, or daily oral estradiol (1 mg) plus dihydrogesterone (5 mg), or daily oral tibolone (2.5 mg) for 12 months. Women who refused hormonal therapy were treated with oral vitamin D (400 IU). Efficacy was evaluated using the McCoy Female Sexuality Questionnaire before treatment and after 12 months. We evaluated the hormonal profile before treatment and after 3, 6 and 12 months.

Results The groups receiving DHEA or HRT reported a significant improvement in sexual function compared to baseline (p < 0.001 and p < 0.01, respectively) using the McCoy total score. The quality of relationship was similar at baseline and after 3, 6 and 12 months of treatment. There were significant increases in the numbers of episodes of sexual intercourse in the previous 4 weeks in women treated with DHEA, HRT and tibolone in comparison with the baseline value (p < 0.01, p < 0.05, p < 0.01, respectively). No changes in the McCoy score occurred in women receiving vitamin D.

Conclusions Daily oral DHEA therapy at the dose of 10 mg, HRT and tibolone all provided a significant improvement in comparison with vitamin D in sexual function and in frequency of sexual intercourse in early postmenopausal women.

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