A trial of the new cream, which contains a cocktail of drugs that dilate the blood vessels, has been successful in 66 per cent of cases.
Statistics released in the UK last year, based on a survey of 2,000 men, claimed that 26 per cent of the UK adult male population have experienced impotence to some degree, that 5 per cent of men are impotent all or most of the time and that within any two-week period in the UK, 2.3 million men suffer from erectile dysfunction.
But, at present, the most common way of dealing with impotence is to use vaso-active drugs. These are given via injections, which may be stressful for the patient and have unpleasant side-effects.
The double-blind trial, carried out in Egypt, involved 36 impotent men with an average age of 48 who had suffered impotence for more than three years.
There were varying reasons given by the men for being unable to sustain an erection, including diabetes, high blood pressure, anxiety and depression.
The men were given the active cream - which contains aminophylline, co-dergocrine and isosorbide dinitrate - for one week and a placebo for the following week. Erectile response, the patient's satisfaction and any side-effects were investigated.
The active cream increased blood flow to the penis and induced erections.
Twenty five patients reported spontaneous erections during the week in which they were treated with the active cream and more than half reported successful intercourse compared to three who used the placebo.
The treatment worked particularly well in men whose impotence had a psychological component. None of the patients reported side-effects such as headaches, dizziness or pain and none reported complaints from their partner.
The author, Professor Adel Gomaa, professor of pharmacology at Assiut University, Egypt, concluded: "Even though more studies are needed, treatment of impotence with a cream ... might be considered before the intracavernous injection of vaso-active drugs."Reuse content