Researchers have evaluated sexual function in midlife women taking low-dose oral Estradiol or Venlafaxine ( Efexor, Effexor ) for hot flushes.
In an 8-week randomized controlled trial among women aged 40–62 years, sexual function was compared between 0.5 mg oral Estradiol per day or 75 mg Venlafaxine per day ( both compared with a placebo ).
Measures included composite and six domain scores from the FSFI ( Female Sexual Function Index ) and sexually related personal distress.
Participants were aged 54.6 years, 59% white, with 8.1 daily hot flushes. Median composite baseline Female Sexual Function Index score was 16.3 ( n=256 ) for all women and 21.7 ( n=198 ) among sexually active women.
Composite mean Female Sexual Function Index change from baseline to week 8 was 1.4 for Estradiol, 1.1 for Venlafaxine, and −0.3 for placebo.
Composite Female Sexual Function Index and sexually related distress change from baseline did not differ between Estradiol and placebo ( P=0.38, P=0.30 ) or Venlafaxine and placebo ( P=0.79, P=0.48 ).
Among sexually active women, Female Sexual Function Index domain score change from baseline differences ( active compared with placebo ) in desire was 0.3 for Estradiol, −0.6 in orgasm for Venlafaxine, and 0.9 in penetration pain for Venlafaxine.
No women reported adverse events related to sexual dysfunction.
In conclusion, overall sexual function among nondepressed midlife women experiencing hot flushes did not change over 8 weeks with low-dose oral Estradiol or Venlafaxine ( compared with placebo ), although a subtle increase in desire ( Estradiol ) and decreases in orgasm and pain ( Venlafaxine ) may exist. ( Xagena )
Reed S et al, Obst Gynecol 2014; 124: 233-241