What You Need to Know

For many women, sexual desire fluctuates due to changes in relationships, stress, and physical changes. However, approximately 10% of women experience a low sex drive that causes distress, known as hypoactive sexual desire disorder (HSDD). The FDA has approved two prescription drugs for HSDD: Flibanserin (daily pill) and Bremelanotide (self-administered shot). These drugs work by boosting activity of chemical messengers in the brain to increase arousal. Treatment for HSDD may also include sex education, counseling, and hormone therapy. Both drugs have concerns and risks, and the choice will depend on what works best for an individual’s lifestyle. However, researchers have primarily studied these drugs in premenopausal women, and use of these medications is not advised for pregnant or breastfeeding women as well as individuals taking certain medications or consuming alcohol. After 8 weeks, if there is no change, the treatment may be discontinued. The availability of these medications is a positive first step in the research and treatment of women’s sexual desire.

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