The Senate gave final approval Thursday to a bill that would permit naturopathic doctors to prescribe testosterone to their patients.

HB108, sponsored by Rep. Douglas Aagard, R-Kaysville, was passed by the House last month and will now go to the governor.

The bill's Senate sponsor, Sen. Dennis Stowell, R-Parowan, told lawmakers that a naturopath must go through four years of college, four years of medical school and a yearlong internship before being allowed to practice in the state.

"These guys are well qualified to do this," Stowell said.

Currently, doctors licensed in the state as naturopaths can prescribe estrogen for their female patients, but if a diagnosis is made requiring testosterone as a treatment, those patients — usually male — must go to a second doctor for a prescription.

The restrictions on prescribing testosterone originally stemmed from concerns about athletes getting hold of the hormone for performance enhancement rather than for a diagnosed medical need.

During preliminary debate on the bill Wednesday, Stowell said low testosterone levels have been linked to a variety of health problems in men, including cardiovascular disease, depression and osteoporosis.

Stowell got some harsh questioning during final debate on the bill from Sen. Margaret Dayton, R-Orem, who called it "another example of groups seeking licensure through legislation rather than education."

Dayton, who is married to a medical doctor and twice voted no on the proposal, said she was concerned about expanding the prescribing privileges of naturopaths.

"Medical doctors are always expanding what they can prescribe so why shouldn't these doctors also be able to?" Stowell said.