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Depression Drug Helps Women With Low Sex Drive

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Updated December 04, 2003

Low sex drive affects at least one out of five women in the United States. A study presented at this year's American Psychiatric Association meeting found that bupropion hydrochloride sustained-release tablets may be an effective treatment for some women who suffer from hypoactive sexual desire disorder (HSDD). There is currently no approved drug treatment for low sex drive in women.

Researchers found that almost one-third of the women in the study responded with increases in the number of episodes of sexual arousal, sexual fantasy, and interest in engaging in sexual activity. Women included in the study were aged 23 to 65 and had experienced HSDD for an average of six years. Participants saw improvement as early as two weeks after beginning treatment.

R. Taylor Segraves, M.D., Ph.D., lead investigator and professor of psychiatry at Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine said, "The results of this study are encouraging. One aspect that demonstrated a substantial improvement was that by the end of the treatment phase nearly 40 percent reported being satisfied with their sexual desire, whereas 100 percent were dissatisfied before starting treatment."

Although a person diagnosed with HSDD can still function sexually, the disorder is characterized by a combination of factors including persistently diminished or absent sexual fantasies or desire for sexual activity. Low sex drive is a condition that can cause both emotional distress and problems in intimate relationships, according to Dr. Segraves.

Bupropion hydrochloride SR enhances the presence of neurotransmitters, norepinephrine and dopamine, in the brain and is not associated with the sexual side effects often experienced by patients using selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) anti-depressants such as Prozac, Paxil, and Zoloft.

Is bupropion hydrochloride SR the answer for your low sex drive?

It may be, but even Dr. Segraves agrees that more research is needed on the use of this drug as a treatment for HSDD. The drug is currently approved for the treatment of depression and is marketed as Wellbutrin SR by Glaxo Wellcome Inc.
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