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The drug trial that could change every woman's life

By source, Oct 28, 2012 | Updated: Oct 28, 2012 | |
  1. source
    View attachment 29271 THE development of Tefina has the potential not only to improve the well-being of women, but also transform relationships. Our approach is novel and exciting...

    Rather than taking treatment continuously, women will self-administer a dose of testosterone gel or placebo gel, as a tiny droplet, into their nasal passage a couple of hours before they think they might have a sexual encounter.

    The testosterone will be rapidly absorbed through the nasal lining, resulting in a sudden rise in levels throughout the body.

    There is a vast need for new treatments for women with sexual difficulties.

    So many women are affected and we have so little to offer them. The progress in this area has lagged way behind that of treatments for male sexual problems, mostly because we have failed to recognise the need.

    Some have protested that female sexual dysfunction is a problem manufactured by pharmaceutical companies trying to create a market for their drugs.

    But the many women who suffer sexual problems know their problem is real, as opposed to invented by someone else, and their wellbeing and relationship suffers.

    They want treatment options and researchers like me are trying to develop them. We already know most women with a partner engage in sexual activity.

    However, many who do so do not experience full sexual satisfaction, and surveys indicate that 30 per cent of women cannot climax during intercourse.

    For many women, this inability translates into sexual activity becoming a chore or a duty instead of a shared positive experience.

    This is a frustrating situation for women who have previously enjoyed a satisfying sexual relationship.

    We know women with low sexual satisfaction have lower wellbeing than women who are satisfied with their sexual life.

    Differences in sexual satisfaction in a relationship commonly lead to the development of substantial tension within the relationship.

    This tension does not usually remain confined to the bedroom but seeps into other parts of home life, and sometimes beyond.

    Testosterone levels play a key role in sexual function, and that is why our approach is based around this hormone.

    The reality is testosterone levels gradually decline in women with age, starting from the 20s. So by the time most women are in their 40s, they only have about half the testosterone level they had when younger.

    Low testosterone levels may contribute to the development of climax problems in women who have not previously experienced sexual difficulty.

    In studies of women with low sexual desire we have shown that testosterone, taken in a dose appropriate for women, increases a woman's ability to climax.

    This is because testosterone therapy not only improves sexual desire through central actions in the brain, but also results in increased vaginal blood flow, which is critical for sexual satisfaction.

    We urge women in Melbourne, Perth, Sydney and Adelaide to take part in the clinical trials, which we hope in time will herald a new era for women's health.

    Prof Susan Davis, director of the Women's Health Research Program at Monash University

    Prof Susan Davis
    From: Sunday Herald Sun
    October 28, 2012 12:00AM



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