Low libido is no longer an impediment to sexual activity. Males and females who are frustrated with their low sex drives can find temporary relief in a few recent drugs. Some of these products were specifically designed to tackle the problem and some just happen to work so.
Abnormally low libido resulting in psychological distress is controversially regarded as a mental disorder. Until the DSM-IV, the condition was named ‘hypoactive sexual drive disorder’. In the subsequent DSM revision (DSM-V), it has been broken in two sexual disorders. Notwithstanding the fact that this might just be another form of psychiatric over-diagnosis, scientists have already come up with a few drugs that effectively increase sexual behavior.
Flibanserin: This is the first drug approved by the FDA to treat hyposexuality in females. Despite being frequently labeled as the ‘female Viagra’, it hasn’t gained as much popularity. One of the reasons is probably because it interacts adversely with alcohol causing hypotension).
In clinical tests, it has shown to affect sexual behavior, resulting in an increase of sexual events. Flibanserin acts primarily on the prefrontal cortex, upregulating the expression of dopamine and norepinephrine. This is the typical mechanism of so-called norepinephrine-dopamine disinhibitors – antidepressant drugs such as fluoxetine and agomelatine. In fact, Flibanserin was initially conceived as an antidepressant.
Bupropion: The use of this drug for sexual dysfunction hasn’t been officially approved, but it is routinely used to overcome sexual disorders caused by SSRI drugs. Research suggests that non-depressed females diagnosed with inhibited sexual drive may benefit from it. This drug also acts by increasing the concentrations of dopamine and norepinephrine. Basically, the drug acts as a norepinephrine-dopamine reuptake inhibitor.
However, Bupropion is not always harmless. Some of the most common side effects include insomnia, headaches, nausea and asthenia. The drug may also prompt epileptic seizures. In addition to the management of depression, Bupropion is primarily employed in smoking cessation, as well as obesity and ADHD treatment.
Bremelanotide: This drug aims for a completely different target in the brain, and has already shown success in phase III trials. Bremelanotide activates the melanocortin 3 and 4 receptors. Scientists have known for decades that the manipulation of these melanocortin receptors causes impressive effects in sexual behavior and physiology. Bremelanotide is a more potent analog of the endogenous a-melanocyte-stimulating hormone – a hormone that regulates several functions in the human body, including sexual activity. Thus, Bremelanotide is regarded as a promising medication for hyposexuality and even erectile dysfunction. Bremelanotide is a product of more than three decades of research, and it is expected go commercial in the very near future.