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DECREASED LIBIDO AND “THE LITTLE PINK PILL”

Hypoactive Sexual Desire Disorder (HSDD), commonly called “decreased libido”, affects approximately 10% of the female population across all age groups, according to the International Society for Sexual Medicine.  With several national news organizations introducing the “little pink pill”, I thought it would be a good time to review HSDD.  Signs and symptoms that might suggest a low sex drive include:

  • No interest in sex
  • Few, if any, thoughts or fantasies about sex
  • Bothered by the lack of sex drive

There are several things that can contribute to a decreased libido, including:

  • Pain during sex
  • Inability to orgasm
  • Medical illness
    • High blood pressure
    • Cancer
    • Diabetes
    • Coronary artery disease
    • Neurological disorders
  • Medications such as birth control pills or antidepressants
  • Fatigue
  • Lifestyle habits
    • Too much alcohol consumption
    • Smoking (which can decrease blood flow and decrease arousal)
    • Street drugs
  • Changes in hormones
    • Menopause
    • Pregnancy
    • Breast  feeding
  • Psychological issues
    • Depression
    • Anxiety
    • Stress
    • Poor body image
    • History of sexual abuse
    • History of negative sexual experience
  • Relationship issues
    • Lack of closeness
    • Unresolved conflicts
    • Lack of communication as to your needs
    • Infidelity

There are currently no FDA approved medications for the treatment of HSDD.  However, on June 4, 2015, an advisory committee to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recommended approval, with conditions, of the drug Flibanserin. This medication is for the treatment of premenopausal women with HSDD. It would be the first medication approved to treat HSDD.

The advocacy group called “Even the Score” had a large presence at the FDA approval committee meeting. Their campaign supports gender equality when it pertains to drugs to treat sexual dysfunction. Many are concerned that the FDA has a gender bias when it comes to approving drugs for women. Currently the FDA has approved 26 medications that treat male sexual dysfunction and none that treat women’s.     

Flibanserin is a non-hormonal pill. It acts on the dopamine and serotonin receptors in the brain. Thus, only women with a dopamine and serotonin imbalance are candidates for this drug. This is not for everyone and only upon completion of a thorough examination should a woman with the diagnosis of Hypoactive Sexual Desire Disorder be prescribed this medication.  (That is, assuming the FDA actually approves it.)  If approved, “the little pink pill” will be as popular a term as the “little blue pill” has been for men.

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