When we first enter a relationship, there is what I like to call the “jungle sex” period of our lives. Why don’t we stay in this period during our entire relationship? Well, we are tired. We are focusing on our careers, starting a family, and paying bills. For some reason, we feel that our relationship should take a back seat to all of this.
Women come in every day and ask me for a libido pill. Some women say that they respond to Viagra. I am not sure if they really do or if it is a placebo effect. Every drug has at least a thirty percent placebo effect. This means that the drug will work for 30% of the people whether they are taking the placebo or not. I really don’t care why it works. If it is working for my patient, she and her husband are happy, and her risks for taking the drug are acceptable, I will prescribe it.
Flibanserin is a new drug just recently approved for the treatment of hypoactive sexual desire disorder (HSDD) in a woman. HSDD means a woman who is otherwise healthy has a lacking libido, or a lack of sexual desire. Studies show that about 10-20% of women face this problem and some say HSDD outnumbers men with sexual problems. Flibanserin is not a hormone. It increases dopamine and nor-adrenalin within the brain and decreases serotonin. This has a positive effect on a woman’s sexual craving who was otherwise lacking in this area.
This is the first drug ever approved for Hypoactive Sexual Desire Disorder. This is a great moment in the field of sexual medicine. This is the first FDA approved drug for women with decreased libido. Some women have biologic issues (as opposed to emotional issues) that cause low libido. Flibanserin or Addyi® works by rebalancing key brain chemicals and is not a hormone. Women now have a choice of an approved drug just for them – not an off-label use of a drug approved for men. Just because there is a medical option does not mean that sexual counseling or sex therapy is not needed. It just gives healthcare providers another option to treat a problem that is very prevalent in women.
Healthcare providers have enormous empathy and sympathy for women with low sexual desire. We are very excited to have a drug that will work in up to 50% of women with this problem. If you are a “responder” to the drug, you may have:
Doubling of your satisfying sexual events
Up to a 53% increase in sexual desire (per the Female Sexual Function Index
Up to a 29% decrease in your distress about low libido
When healthcare providers give you a new medication, you should be told about the benefits, side effects, and risks of the drug. We are not going to do anything different for this new medication for low libido. This drug will not make you hypersexual.
This drug will not make sex “better.” It will not make you a better lover. However, if you feel better and less distressed about your sexual experiences, your relationship with your intimate partner may improve significantly.