Department of Psychology
Department of Psychology

Spring 2019 Newsletter — Prof. Bob Josephs Receives U.S. Patent for New Testosterone Nasal Spray

Mon, June 3, 2019
Spring 2019 Newsletter — Prof. Bob Josephs Receives U.S. Patent for New Testosterone Nasal Spray
Prof. Robert Josephs

Psychology Professor Bob Josephs received a U.S. patent in April for a testosterone-containing nasal spray designed to help men and women suffering from anxiety, depression, and sexual dysfunction.



The new nasal spray was developed for use in research conducted by Professor Robert A Josephs (Clinical Area) and graduate students in his Clinical Neuroendocrinology Laboratory over the past seven years that looked at testosterone's effects on human characteristics such as leadership and cheating, unethical behavior and anxiety.

These studies required a safe, fast and reliable way to administer testosterone to test subjects—a way that did not yet exist. The need for a new method became obvious from the first such study in the lab in 2012, when use of a testosterone-containing topical cream by then-Ph.D. candidate Scott Liening led to widespread contamination of his lab samples. More recent experiments conducted by current Ph.D. candidate Ellie Shuo Jin have proven the effectiveness of the spray in reducing the anxiety evoked by public speaking and test taking.

This is only the 2nd patent ever received within UT's College of Liberal Arts.

See UT COLA's official press release below.

New Testosterone Nasal Spray Offers Patients an Alternative


AUSTIN, Texas — A newly patented, testosterone-containing nasal spray developed by a psychology professor at The University of Texas at Austin could provide those suffering from testosterone deficiency and other ailments, such as anxiety disorders, with easily modulated, fast-acting results.

Currently, those diagnosed with “low T” — testosterone deficiency or hypogonadism — may receive hormone supplements via drops, transdermal creams and gels, injections and subcutaneous “seeds,” all of which take days and/or multiple dosages to reach full potential.

The new aqueous-based nasal spray was initially developed to address a current market need for comfortable and controlled dosages of testosterone for people suffering from decreased libido and anxiety disorders. Testosterone is in high demand with prescriptions increasing fivefold since 2011.

Although testosterone therapy is most often marketed and prescribed to men, UT Austin psychology professor Robert Josephs and MedCara Pharmaceuticals pharmacist Craig Herman developed their nasal spray in response to a long-standing research question about why women are twice as likely as men to develop anxiety disorders.

Research has shown that while there is no difference in anxiety disorders among prepubescents, puberty introduces a sharp uptick in anxiety disorders in girls, who naturally have about one-tenth the amount of testosterone as boys. The researchers speculated that men’s higher concentrations of circulating testosterone may protect against anxiety and began developing a treatment to address the issue.

“A growing body of research points to testosterone’s importance in the etiology of anxiety disorders. These findings highlight the potential benefit of rapid increases in testosterone concentration as a means to short-circuit the mechanisms underlying the development of anxiety-related disorders, including panic disorder, social anxiety and PTSD,” said Josephs, who is also an adjunct professor of psychiatry at the Dell Medical School.

Although testosterone is not currently prescribed for anxiety, Josephs hopes that treating anxiety disorders with a short-term, fast-acting testosterone product might be prescribed alongside a lower dose of benzodiazepines — such as Xanax or Klonopin.

“Although benzodiazepines work well, they have strong sedative effects,” Josephs said. “Testosterone is not sedating.”

The nasal spray (United States Patent No. 10,258,63, issued on April 16, 2019) has been licensed to Acerus Pharmaceuticals Corporation.



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