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Hormone Molecular Biology and Clinical Investigation

Editor-in-Chief: Chetrite, Gérard S.

Editorial Board: Alexis, Michael N. / Baniahmad, Aria / Beato, Miguel / Bouillon, Roger / Brodie, Angela / Carruba, Giuseppe / Chen, Shiuan / Cidlowski, John A. / Clarke, Robert / Coelingh Bennink, Herjan J.T. / Darbre, Philippa D. / Drouin, Jacques / Dufau, Maria L. / Edwards, Dean P. / Falany, Charles N. / Fernandez-Perez, Leandro / Ferroud, Clotilde / Feve, Bruno / Flores-Morales, Amilcar / Foster, Michelle T. / Garcia-Segura, Luis M. / Gastaldelli, Amalia / Gee, Julia M.W. / Genazzani, Andrea R. / Greene, Geoffrey L. / Groner, Bernd / Hampl, Richard / Hilakivi-Clarke, Leena / Hubalek, Michael / Iwase, Hirotaka / Jordan, V. Craig / Klocker, Helmut / Kloet, Ronald / Labrie, Fernand / Mendelson, Carole R. / Mück, Alfred O. / Nicola, Alejandro F. / O'Malley, Bert W. / Raynaud, Jean-Pierre / Ruan, Xiangyan / Russo, Jose / Saad, Farid / Sanchez, Edwin R. / Schally, Andrew V. / Schillaci, Roxana / Schindler, Adolf E. / Söderqvist, Gunnar / Speirs, Valerie / Stanczyk, Frank Z. / Starka, Luboslav / Sutter, Thomas R. / Tresguerres, Jesús A. / Wahli, Walter / Wildt, Ludwig / Yang, Kaiping / Yu, Qi

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Volume 25, Issue 3


Effect of intravaginal dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA) on the female sexual function in postmenopausal women: ERC-230 open-label study

Céline Bouchard / Fernand Labrie / Leonard Derogatis / Ginette Girard / Normand Ayotte / John Gallagher / Leonello Cusan / David F. Archer / David Portman / Lyne Lavoie / Adam Beauregard / Isabelle Côté / Céline Martel / Mario Vaillancourt / John Balser
  • Clinique de Recherche en Santé des Femmes, Quebec City, QC, Canada
  • Veristat, Holliston, MA, USA
  • Other articles by this author:
  • De Gruyter OnlineGoogle Scholar
/ Erick Moyneur
  • Clinique de Recherche en Santé des Femmes, Quebec City, QC, Canada
  • StatLog Consulting Inc., Ottawa, ON, Canada
  • Other articles by this author:
  • De Gruyter OnlineGoogle Scholar
/ other participating Members of the VVA Prasterone Group
Published Online: 2015-12-18 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/hmbci-2015-0044


Objective: Intravaginal DHEA (dehydroepiandrosterone, prasterone), the exclusive precursor of androgens and estrogens in postmenopausal women, has previously been shown to improve all the domains of sexual function by a strictly local action in the vagina. The well recognized female sexual function index (FSFI) questionnaire was used in the present study.

Design: The long-term effect of 52-week treatment with daily intravaginal 0.50% (6.5 mg) DHEA was evaluated on the various domains of female sexual function using the FSFI questionnaire at baseline, Week 26 and Week 52.

Subjects: One hundred and fifty-four postmenopausal women with at least one mild to severe symptom of vulvovaginal atrophy (VVA) and who have completed the FSFI questionnaire at baseline and at least one post-baseline timepoint were included in the analysis.

Results: The FSFI domains desire, arousal, lubrication, orgasm, satisfaction and pain were increased by 28%, 49%, 115%, 51%, 41% and 108%, respectively (p<0.0001 for all parameters) at 52 weeks vs. baseline, while the total score was increased from 13.4±0.62 at baseline to 21.5±0.82 (+60%, p<0.0001) at 52 weeks.

Conclusion: As the serum levels of DHEA and all its metabolites, including estradiol and testosterone, show no meaningful change, the present clinical data indicate a stimulatory effect of intravaginal DHEA through a strictly local action in agreement with the preclinical data showing that the androgens made locally from DHEA in the vagina induce an increase in local nerve density.

Keywords: androgens; dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA); female sexual dysfunction; FSFI; intracrinology; low arousal; low desire; postmenopause; prasterone; vaginal nerve fibers


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About the article

Corresponding author: Fernand Labrie, EndoCeutics Inc., 2795 Laurier Blvd, Suite 500, Quebec City (Quebec) G1V 4M7, Canada, Phone: +1-418-653-0055, Fax: +1-418-653-3635, E-mail:

Received: 2015-09-22

Accepted: 2015-11-09

Published Online: 2015-12-18

Published in Print: 2016-03-01

Citation Information: Hormone Molecular Biology and Clinical Investigation, Volume 25, Issue 3, Pages 181–190, ISSN (Online) 1868-1891, ISSN (Print) 1868-1883, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/hmbci-2015-0044.

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