The objective of the International Society for the Study of Women's Sexual Health expert consensus panel was to develop a concise, clinically relevant, evidence-based review of the epidemiology, physiology, pathogenesis, diagnosis, and treatment of hypoactive sexual desire disorder (HSDD), a sexual dysfunction affecting approximately 10% of adult women. Etiologic factors include conditions or drugs that decrease brain dopamine, melanocortin, oxytocin, and norepinephrine levels and augment brain serotonin, endocannabinoid, prolactin, and opioid levels. Symptoms include lack or loss of motivation to participate in sexual activity due to absent or decreased spontaneous desire, sexual desire in response to erotic cues or stimulation, or ability to maintain desire or interest through sexual activity for at least 6 months, with accompanying distress. Treatment follows a biopsychosocial model and is guided by history and assessment of symptoms. Sex therapy has been the standard treatment, although there is a paucity of studies assessing efficacy, except for mindfulness-based cognitive behavior therapy. Bupropion and buspirone may be considered off-label treatments for HSDD, despite limited safety and efficacy data. Menopausal women with HSDD may benefit from off-label testosterone treatment, as evidenced by multiple clinical trials reporting some efficacy and short-term safety. Currently, flibanserin is the only Food and Drug Administration–approved medication to treat premenopausal women with generalized acquired HSDD. Based on existing data, we hypothesize that all these therapies alter central inhibitory and excitatory pathways. In conclusion, HSDD significantly affects quality of life in women and can effectively be managed by health care providers with appropriate assessments and individualized treatments.
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