Improved sexual satisfaction for women could be just a spray on the skin away, according to the results of clinical trials led by a Monash University research team.
The unique testosterone spray, developed by Melbourne-based company Acrux, significantly improved younger women's sexual enjoyment and satisfaction.
The spray was tested on 261 premenopausal women across Australia who had low libido and testosterone levels. The spray delivers testosterone and a substance to ensure the hormone is held in the skin and absorbed over 24 hours -- similar to the way sunscreen remains on the skin.
Each woman kept a diary throughout the 16-week study -- in which they were also given "dummy" doses -- to record all sexual events along with the level of satisfaction.
Principal investigator, Professor Susan Davis, Chair of Women's Health at Monash University, said previous research had focused on postmenopausal women known to have low testosterone levels.
"But many younger women also report having low sexual interest and enjoyment and traditionally this has been explained away as being caused by relationship issues, depression or other life circumstances," she said. "But now we know for many women the underlying problem is biological."
The results of the study showed that by restoring hormone levels to normal through the transdermal spray, women's sexual lives were also restored to a significant extent -- and with very few side-effects.
"If further studies reconfirm the benefits we have seen, the spray could make an enormous difference to the quality of many women's lives," Professor Davis said. "This is not just about sex -- it's about having a satisfying home and social life, and having happier relationships and communities all round."
The spray-on treatment is a variation of drug delivery technology patented at the Victorian College of Pharmacy at Monash University.
Acrux CEO and managing director Dr Igor Gonda said the clinical trial results were a significant step towards bringing a novel product to treat female low libido to global markets.
The study was part of the approval process for the US Food and Drug Administration. The next step will be Phase 3 studies to confirm the effectiveness and safety of the therapy over a longer period.