An update on the pharmacological management of female sexual dysfunction.
Introduction: Female sexual dysfunction (FSD) is a global health issue, with as many as 12% of women over 18 years old reporting sexual difficulties associated with distress. It is a multifaceted problem with psychological and biological causes. Affected women tend to have an impaired quality of life, a decreased level of well-being and relationship issues. Hence there is a need for management options for affected women. Areas covered: This paper focuses on current pharmacological options for the treatment of FSD, particularly estrogens and androgens, which have been extensively studied. Some investigational drugs are also described, including the centrally acting agents such as flibanserin and bupropion, and intravaginal DHEA and testosterone, which may be useful as an alternative for women with specific conditions, such as breast cancer survivors. Expert opinion: Although approval for the use of testosterone for treatment of FSD is limited to some European countries and restricted to surgically menopausal women, there is extensive off-label use for this purpose. No other product has yet achieved regulatory approval for treatment of FSD. Completion of studies of nonhormonal FSD therapies and safety studies of testosterone may result in regulatory approval of such products for the treatment of FSD in the near future.