The effects of tibolone on mood and libido

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Objective: To review published data pertaining to the effects of tibolone on sexual parameters, mood, and cognitive function in postmenopausal women. Design: A review of all relevant published, peer-reviewed studies. Results: Tibolone is a compound that can be selectively metabolized by individual tissues to its estrogenic, progestogenic, or androgenic metabolites and hence exhibits tissue-specific hormonal effects. Tibolone also lowers sex hormone binding globulin, thus increasing free estradiol and testosterone levels. Tibolone alleviates climacteric vasomotor symptoms and displays a dominant progestogenic effect on the endometrium. Tibolone normalizes the vaginal karyopyknotic and maturation indexes and alleviates symptomatic atrophic vaginitis. Women treated with tibolone report significant reductions in vaginal dryness and dyspareunia, effects that may be secondary to both estrogenic and androgenic actions. Randomized studies indicate tibolone has positive effects on mood compared with placebo and alleviates several adverse mood parameters to a similar extent as conventional hormone replacement therapy. Improved mood is associated with increased plasma β-endorphin. With respect to cognition, tibolone seems to improve semantic memory but does not significantly improve recognition memory. Tibolone is associated with improvements in sexual function that seem to be greater than those achieved with standard hormone replacement therapy. Conclusion: Published studies indicate beneficial effects of tibolone on both libido and mood, which otherwise significantly compromise physical, psychological, and social well-being. Hence, tibolone provides another option for menopausal women experiencing loss of libido as part of their symptomatology or who have persistent low libido despite adequate estrogen/progestin replacement therapy.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)162-170
Number of pages9
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2002


  • Female androgen insufficiency
  • Tibolone

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