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--Dr. Roger Beyer
There Are Currently NO FDA-Approved Treatments For Low Libido in Women.
Imagine being diagnosed with a disease that plagues millions of other people and then finding out that there are no FDA-approved drugs to treat it. For women with low libido, this is the unfortunate and long-ignored reality. But there’s hope on the horizon: The FDA held a two-day landmark meeting to address female sexual dysfunction on October 27, 2014, inviting sufferers to share their struggles and, if they’ve found relief, what worked for them.
The FDA is finally realizing that women deserve the same sexual rights as men. This is the first time that they’ve really gone after patient perspective. They didn’t want to hear from the clinicians, researchers or doctors — they wanted to hear from women suffering from the problem.
In the last year and a half, female sexual dysfunction has received increasing attention as a grossly under-diagnosed and under-treated issue. On Jan. 27, 2014, four congresswomen sent a letter to the FDA, pointing out the embarrassing disparity between sexual-dysfunction treatment options for men and women. On Oct. 23, 2014, a group of 83 medical professionals urged the FDA to make female sexual dysfunction a priority. Even the Score, a campaign for sexual-health equality, has started a petition to push the problem to the forefront of the FDA’s proceedings.
Despite this lack of attention, the problem is unbounded: By some estimates, nearly half of the women in the U.S. suffer from sexual dysfunction, with the most common diagnosis being hypoactive sexual desire disorder (HSDD), or low libido. And the diagnosis doesn’t include only post-menopausal women. Women in their 20’s, 30’s and 40’s are being diagnosed with HSDD. Leaving this condition untreated while addressing men’s sexual difficulties is a recipe for discontent. According to Dr. Roger Beyer and other physicians “By improving a man’s sex drive and/or treating his erectile dysfunction but not increasing his partner’s libido, you’re creating problems not fixing them”. In fact, in a 2011 study in the Archives of Sexual Behavior, men who reported higher desire than their significant other tended to feel dissatisfied in their long-term relationships.
And when a woman is troubled by her sexual difficulties, the effects can be far-reaching. As Michelle King Robson, founder of EmpowHER and a former sexual-dysfunction sufferer, said at the meeting held by FDA, “[Sexual dysfunction] affects one out of every 10 women. It ruins the quality of women’s lives. It impacts our ability to be productive contributors to the U.S. economy. It harms men and families when it destroys relationships and marriages.”
Although there is a drug available in Europe to treat HSDD, the FDA rejected this testosterone-based treatment due to safety concerns. The result: The U.S. is lagging behind. In Europe, they take this condition very seriously. There have been numerous studies looking at this issue — most of them have been out of the U.S. in Australia and Europe.
The bottom line here is that we need more therapies. We have to have something on-label for women. The FDA’s public workshop represents a historic moment in the fight for gender equity in sexual health medicine. The full recorded meeting can be viewed via a link posted at the top of this article. We hope that the outcome of this process is approval by the FDA of safe and effective treatments for women’s most common sexual complaint.