Newson Health announces ground-breaking research into testosterone
Research suggests testosterone has benefits beyond sexual function
Newson Health has today become the first UK organisation to announce new insights into the benefits of testosterone suggesting the hormone has important health benefits beyond sexual function.
The large retrospective observational study was led by Menopause Specialist Dr Louise Newson and is set to be presented at the Annual European Congress on Menopause and Andropause in Florence, Italy, on 5 May. The study reveals that testosterone significantly improves mood-related symptoms such as anxiety and irritability, as well as concentration and memory in menopausal women.
Newson Health and balance app founder, GP and Menopause Specialist Dr Louise Newson, said: ‘Testosterone is often seen as a “male” hormone, but it’s actually a vital hormone for women as well.
‘It is scandalous that testosterone is still not licensed for women in the UK and until now, the evidence for testosterone to treat symptoms associated with the perimenopause and menopause beyond low libido has been unclear.
‘Our study, with all the limitations that naturally come from an observational study of this kind, indicates that testosterone has wider-ranging benefits alongside HRT for perimenopausal and menopausal women struggling with not only low libido, but other symptoms such as low mood, anxiety, poor concentration, low energy and memory problems.
‘I hope our findings will pave the way for much-needed research into testosterone for the benefit of women’s health worldwide.’
This advance – no doubt welcome news by the 13 million perimenopausal and menopausal women in the UK alone – comes on the back of the testosterone cream AndroFeme recently applying for Marketing Authorisation Application (MAA) with the UK regulator, the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA), and the first clinical trial of a testosterone patch for post-menopausal women due to start later this year.
How our testosterone study was carried out
Researchers studied data from 905 women aged 45 and over who had been prescribed testosterone cream or gel at the Newson Health Menopause and Wellbeing Clinic between August 2021 and February 2022.
This large retrospective cohort included women who were already taking standard HRT and scored moderate/severe on relevant domains of the Green Climacteric Questionnaire – a validated checklist used to measure menopause symptoms and assess changes in symptoms before and after treatment.
Researchers compared results for 21 menopause symptoms before and three to six months after adding testosterone to each woman’s HRT regimen.
Improvements in mood-related symptoms, anxiety and sleep
Testosterone treatment was associated with an overall 37% improvement in sexual function scores. Strikingly, the addition of testosterone also saw 47% improvement in mood-related symptoms, 45% improvement in symptoms associated with anxiety, 35% improved sleep, 34% improved concentration, 32% improved energy, 24% improved memory,
The largest increase in symptom improvement was seen in mood. In total, 71% of women started on testosterone reported improvement in their mood-related symptoms. These results reflect what clinicians working at Newson Health and many other menopause clinics have noticed when they prescribe testosterone to women.
More research is required, but these data suggest that testosterone should be considered as part of HRT for women who continue to have symptoms despite being on standard HRT.
Testosterone is a biologically active hormone that is actually produced in higher quantities than oestrogen in younger women. Like other hormones, testosterone declines precipitously in midlife, at a rate much faster in women than in men. Testosterone has a critical role in the brain as well as other organs in the body.
Testosterone is available in a gel, cream, or implant, and, while it is not currently licensed as a treatment for women in the UK, many NHS and private healthcare professionals prescribe it ‘off-licence’.
This means that there is not a license for its use, but this does not mean it is unsafe.
Clinicians often prescribe medications ‘off-licence’, for example, numerous common medications prescribed for children or medications to reduce symptoms due to migraines.
Testosterone has been shown in studies to improve libido in women. Anecdotally, many women who take testosterone in addition to their HRT notice that other symptoms including mood, energy and concentration also improve.
Current NICE guidelines recommend testosterone should only be considered for perimenopausal and menopausal women who have reduced sexual desire despite taking HRT. NIHR in the UK has recently commissioned research to investigate the role of testosterone beyond sexual function.
Looking to the future
The latest research findings from Newson Health indicate that there is a lot more to testosterone than libido, and that more work is urgently needed to reclaim this hormone as an integral part of women’s health.
Newson Health is currently working with academics and clinicians both in the UK and internationally to establish the evidence base for giving testosterone to women to help improve symptoms associated with the perimenopause and menopause. Newson Health is committed to advancing research in this vital area, to improve the lives of women everywhere.