Effect of long-term intranasal oxytocin on sexual dysfunction in premenopausal and postmenopausal women: a randomized trial

Fertil Steril. 2015 Sep;104(3):715-23.e4. doi: 10.1016/j.fertnstert.2015.06.010. Epub 2015 Jul 4.


Objective: To assess the effect of on-demand intranasal oxytocin administration on female sexual function and activity.

Design: Randomized, prospective, double-blind, placebo-controlled, crossover trial with duration of 22 weeks.

Setting: Academic medical center.

Patient(s): Thirty pre-and postmenopausal women with sexual dysfunction.

Intervention(s): Over 8 weeks, intranasal oxytocin (32 IU) or placebo self-administered by women within 50 minutes before sexual intercourse; after a washout period of 2 weeks, crossover with patients switched to the alternate group for another 8 weeks.

Main outcome measure(s): Primary outcome parameter: Female Sexual Function Index (FSFI); secondary outcome parameters: Female Sexual Distress Scale (FSDS), Sexual Quality of Life-Female (SQOL-F), Sexual Interest and Desire Inventory-Female (SIDI-F), and Hamilton depression scale (HDS).

Result(s): After oxytocin and placebo, the FSFI score increased by 26% and 31%, SQOL-F score by 144% and 125%, and SIDI-F score by 29% and 23%, respectively (repeated measures analysis of variance between groups). After oxytocin and placebo, the FSDS score decreased by 36% and 45%, respectively (repeated measures analysis of variance between groups). There was no statistically significant treatment, sequence (placebo first/second), or interaction effect.

Conclusion(s): Long-term intranasal oxytocin and placebo administration both improved sexual function and symptoms of depression in women over time with no treatment, sequence (placebo first/second), or interaction effect.

Clinical trial registration number: NCT02229721.

Keywords: Depression; female sexual dysfunction; orgasm; oxytocin; placebo.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Administration, Intranasal
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Austria
  • Cross-Over Studies
  • Depression / diagnosis
  • Depression / drug therapy
  • Depression / psychology
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Drug Administration Schedule
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Oxytocin / administration & dosage*
  • Oxytocin / adverse effects
  • Postmenopause*
  • Premenopause*
  • Prospective Studies
  • Quality of Life
  • Sexual Behavior / drug effects*
  • Sexual Dysfunction, Physiological / diagnosis
  • Sexual Dysfunction, Physiological / drug therapy*
  • Sexual Dysfunction, Physiological / physiopathology
  • Sexual Dysfunction, Physiological / psychology
  • Sexual Dysfunctions, Psychological / diagnosis
  • Sexual Dysfunctions, Psychological / drug therapy*
  • Sexual Dysfunctions, Psychological / physiopathology
  • Sexual Dysfunctions, Psychological / psychology
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Time Factors
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Oxytocin

Associated data

  • ClinicalTrials.gov/NCT02229721