Female Sexual Dysfunction Workshop
It is estimated that Female Sexual Dysfunction will affect about 50% of women at some point in their life. This is identical to the number of men estimated to experience problems with erectile dysfunction. Yet whilst Viagra is a household name, there are no approved treatments for women. This is mainly because female sexual dysfunction is more complex and is an umbrella term for a range of symptoms/conditions. You can read more details about Female Sexual Dysfunction here.
In response to pressure from consumer advocacy groups and one drug maker, the FDA has announced that they will hold two-day workshops in October. The purpose of these workshops will be to focus on how female sexual dysfunction affects a person’s life, the problems they face in getting it diagnosed and how they feel about available therapies. FDA has also announced that female sexual dysfunction is one of their 20 priority areas this year.
However, the reactions have been mixed. Some parties, such as the drug manufacturer Sprout, have expressed optimism about the fact that female sexual dysfunction has been considered as a priority. Other parties, such as a coalition named “Even the Score”, maintain that there are 26 treatments for men but none for women. They argue that the 21 oestrogen treatments FDA has referred to relate to treatments that are prescribed during menopause. Although some FSD comes during menopause, it is also prevalent prior to this. Therefore, they feel that FDA is attempting to distort the numbers.
It is further complicated by the fact that it took a long time to get female sexual dysfunction recognised as an illness, rather than something that was psychological or made up. In contrast to that, treatments for erectile dysfunction (most notably Viagra) were prioritised in their approval.
On the other hand, the differences in what we know about the conditions cannot be underestimated. Searches on most common medical websites, such as web md or NHS choices will provide clear bullet points about the causes of erectile dysfunction whereas the same is not true for female sexual dysfunction. It appears that very little is known about causes, and at times the symptoms could be interpreted as multiple illnesses thrown in one diagnostic category.
The only treatment that is currently being considered for female sexual dysfunction is by the drug manufacturer Sprout. You can read more about the progress of this drug (Flibanserin) at this UK-based clinic’s blog. The treatment is meant to be taken on a daily basis and appears to work on the central nervous system. The FDA has argued that this level of drug use would need more detailed examination than Viagra did.
It stands to see how the workshops will be received. In the meantime, more information about the workshops can be found here.