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ISSWSH Responds to NYT Op-Ed Piece on Flibanserin

Mar 06, 2015

ISSWSH responds to NYT Op-Ed Piece on Female Sexual Dysfunction“Women deserve access to all options” when it comes to treatment for female sexual dysfunction, according to a letter from the International Society for the Study of Women’s Sexual Health (ISSWSH) to The New York Times.

The ISSWSH letter has been endorsed by the Sexual Medicine Society of North America (SMSNA) and International Society for Sexual Medicine (ISSM).

The February 28 letter, written by ISSWSH President Sharon J. Parish, MD and Sheryl Kingsberg, PhD, Chair of the ISSWSH Advocacy Committee, was a response to a recentNew York Times op-ed concerning flibanserin, a drug developed for the treatment of hypoactive sexual desire disorder (HSDD).

Women with HSDD experience a chronic lack of sexual desire resulting in distress. Flibanserin works to rebalance chemicals in the brain related to sexual desire.

So far, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has not approved flibanserin because of concerns over safety and effectiveness.

In response, Sprout Pharmaceuticals, the maker of flibanserin, has conducted further research. The company re-applied for FDA approval last month.

In the letter, Drs. Parish and Kingsberg point out that last October the FDA held a public meeting on female sexual dysfunction that addressed HSDD and its treatment.

“It is demeaning to women to suggest that HSDD can be fixed simply by counseling or having sex and hoping sexual desire will appear. As with other conditions where brain and behavior meet, medical and behavioral interventions play an important role in [female sexual dysfunction],” they write.

For additional information about female sexual dysfunton, please see: