New hormone drug to cheer flagging libido

A new hormone replacement therapy being developed by a British company could be the answer to flagging libido in middle-aged men, it was claimed yesterday, writes Magnus Grimond.

Hormone replacement has become an established treatment for post-menopausal women to combat osteoporosis, or "brittle bone disease". But recent research has focused on the use of similar treatments for men suffering from the so-called "male menopause" - decreased libido, impotence, tiredness and depression.

Yesterday, the development of an oral form of the male hormone testosterone took a major step forward when Cortecs International, one of a growing band of UK companies set up to exploit medical breakthroughs, signed a collaboration agreement with a Danish group to finance development of the drug.

But sufferers may have to wait a while yet for relief. Cortecs does not expect to receive regulatory approval until the year 2000, with a further 18 months to two years before it hits the market.

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