The kids. The job. The house. The cell phone, blackberry and email. With all the responsibilities many women juggle, there is often no time for romance, and in many cases, even less desire. Well over a third (40 – 45%) of adult women experience at least one symptom of sexual dysfunction, and few feel they can talk about it.
UCSD researchers are working to change the condition and this way of thinking. “Women who have sexual dysfunction should realize this may be a treatable condition, not just a personal problem,” says Thuy-Tien L. Dam, M.D. of the UCSD Department of Family and Preventive Medicine. “Many women don’t know that other women experience this too, and that it might be a diagnosable disorder called Hypoactive Sexual Desire Disorder or HSDD.”
Dam, clinical director at UCSD Prevention Studies, is conducting a clinical trial to see whether an investigational drug is safe and effective for women with low sexual desire. HSDD is the most common form of female sexual dysfunction, characterized by decreased sexual thoughts and feelings as well as a loss of desire for sex. About 17% to 55% of women have low levels of sexual interest, depending on age.
“Candidates for the study are women who have desire problems; women who once had a healthy sex-drive who now notice a big difference in desire level, for some unknown reason,” says Dam. “If we can understand the physiologic process of what’s happening, we can tailor the treatment specifically for that.”
Studies have shown that erectile dysfunction in men is sometimes caused by a physiologic problem, such as reduced blood flow. There is a school of thought that perhaps physiologic changes in the female brain may be associated with female sexual dysfunction.
While male erectile dysfunction is widely known, publicly discussed and treated, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has not approved any investigational drugs for treating similar disorders in women. This study is an important step in the therapeutic options to help women regain a satisfactory sex life, and to be able to talk about it, said Dam.
Women who may qualify for this study:
- are premenopausal, 18 years of age and older;
- are using a medically approved form of birth control or are surgically sterile;
- are not nursing or pregnant;
- have experienced a loss of sexual desire for at least 6 months;
- have been in a stable, heterosexual, monogamous relationship for at least 1 year;
- are not taking an antidepressant.
Approximately 30 women will be enrolled at UCSD Prevention Studies. A total of 1,400 women are expected to enroll at 75 sites in the Unites States and Canada. Potential patients please contact the study coordinator at (858) 534-0950.
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