Evaluation and Management of Hypoactive Sexual Desire Disorder

Anita H Clayton, Sheryl A Kingsberg, Irwin Goldstein
Sexual Medicine 2018, 6 (2): 59-74

INTRODUCTION: Hypoactive sexual desire disorder (HSDD) often has a negative impact on the health and quality of life of women; however, many women do not mention-let alone discuss-this issue with their physicians. Providers of gynecologic services have the opportunity to address this subject with their patients.

AIM: To review the diagnosis and evidence-based treatment of low sexual desire in women with a focus on strategies that can be used efficiently and effectively in the clinic.

METHODS: The Medline database was searched for clinically relevant publications on the diagnosis and management of HSDD.

RESULTS: HSDD screening can be accomplished during an office visit with a few brief questions to determine whether further evaluation is warranted. Because women's sexual desire encompasses biological, psychological, social, and contextual components, a biopsychosocial approach to evaluating and treating patients with HSDD is recommended. Although individualized treatment plan development for patients requires independent medical judgment, a simple algorithm can assist in the screening, diagnosis, and management of HSDD. Once a diagnosis of HSDD has been made, interventions can begin with office-based counseling and progress to psychotherapy and/or pharmacotherapy. Flibanserin, a postsynaptic 5-hydroxytryptamine 1A agonist and 2A antagonist that decreases serotonin levels and increases dopamine and norepinephrine levels, is indicated for acquired, generalized HSDD in premenopausal women and is the only agent approved in the United States for the treatment of HSDD in women. Other strategies to treat HSDD include using medications indicated for other conditions (eg, transdermal testosterone, bupropion). Bremelanotide, a melanocortin receptor agonist, is in late-stage clinical development.

CONCLUSIONS: Providers of gynecologic care are uniquely positioned to screen, counsel, and refer patients with HSDD. Options for pharmacotherapy of HSDD are currently limited to flibanserin, approved by the US Food and Drug Administration, and off-label use of other agents. Clayton AH, Kingsberg SA, Goldstein I. Evaluation and Management of Hypoactive Sexual Desire Disorder. Sex Med 2018;6:59-74.


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