Study of Viagra in Post-Menopausal Women Shows Promising Results 

By Jennifer Berman, MD

Doctor Jennifer Berman, as part of a Sildenafil Study Group in conjunction with the Department of Urology at UCLA Medical Center, have conducted the first large, well-controlled study to demonstrate the effectiveness of sildenafil (better known as Viagra) in treating sexual arousal disorder in postmenopausal women. 

A double-blind, placebo-controlled study was conducted so that neither the patients nor the scientists knew which women were receiving the Viagra and which were receiving the placebo (non-medicated pill). This method is standard scientific procedure to ensure the most accurate results.

The 12-week study focused on 202 post-menopausal or post-hysterectomized women who complained of female sexual arousal disorder, the symptoms of which include lack of “excitement,” vaginal dryness, loss of sensation and sensitivity in the genitals and nipples, and low blood flow to the genitals.

Viagra enhances sexual arousal in men by increasing the blood flow to the penis, which allows for an erection and helps maintain it to climax. The Sildenafil Study Group theorized that the drug would have the same basic effect in women, causing the blood flow to the genitals to increase, thereby causing better arousal, sensation and lubrication of the genital area. The drug is not an aphrodisiac in either men or women; sexual stimulation is required.

Each patient in our study had primary physical and psychological testing, including blood samples to measure hormone levels, and sexual histories. The women were given initial doses of 50mg that could be increased only once during the study to 100mg based on efficiency of the medication and the women’s tolerance to it. Viagra was to be taken 1 hour prior to sexual activity, but no more than once daily.

Patients had to engage in sexual activity (any sexual stimulation or sexual pleasure such as foreplay, oral sex, caressing) at least once a week and keep a personal log about dosing and sexual activity. They also completed the 34-question Sexual Function Questionnaire at the beginning and end of the study and the 6-point Female Intervention Efficacy Index at the conclusion of the study. Mild to moderate side effects such as headache, flushing, nausea, and vision symptoms were noted. These side effects are also common in men who use Viagra.

The results of the questionnaires and the personal logs indicated that those women who had received the Viagra reported better arousal, lubrication, orgasm and overall sexual satisfaction than those who received the placebo.

Viagra treatment was associated with greater improvement in all items of the Female Intervention Efficacy Index compared with placebo. Specifically, question 2 (assessing genital sensation or feeling) and question 4 (satisfaction with foreplay/intercourse) showed the most significant improvement among the Viagra group. Women who had low libido as well as arousal problems showed no significant improvement

The results of this study are only the beginning of the research into the use of Viagra in women. As the evidence of Viagra’s success in women begins to develop, it will still be quite a while before both sexes can pop their little blue pills and enjoy an enhanced sexual experience. 

Want More Information?