Sex and Wellbutrin
Hope that this title grabbed your attention!
I have written before about dimished libido and other sexual issues that are so common for women during and after breast cancer treatment. Some of the problems are directly related to menopause and the diminished estrogen and vaginal dryness that accompany this stage of life. Some of the problems are more associated with psychological concerns and changed body image, and some of the problems may be related to couples' patterns and communication and general level of satisfaction and intimacy.
This recent small study looked at the impact of the anti-depressant Buproprion (Wellbutrin) on HSDD (hypoactive sexual desire disorder--translated, that means "diminished or no interest in sex". Through the years, I have listened to many hilarious conversations in support groups where women talked about their absent libido and made lists of all the things they would prefer to do rather than have sex. When the list includes things like mop the kitchen floor or go to the dentist, you know there is trouble. Here's a report of the study (and, as an aside, I am fascinated that this study is from Iran):
Buproprion Shows Benefits for Women With
Hypoactive Sexual Desire Disorder
By Amy Norton
NEW YORK (Reuters Health) Feb 25 - The antidepressant bupropion (Wellbutrin) may hold promise for improving symptoms in younger women with hypoactive sexual desire disorder (HSDD), a small study suggests.
In the new study, Iranian researchers found that bupropion sustained-release (Wellbutrin SR) generally boosted sex drive among 116 women with HSDD who took the drug for 12 weeks.
Compared with 116 women given a placebo, their scores on the Brief Index of Sexual Functioning for Women (BISFW) were twice as high, according to findings published in BJU International.
As it stands, there is no treatment for HSDD widely accepted by women, according to the researchers on the new study, led by Dr. Mohammad Reza Safarinejad of Shahid Beheshti University in Tehran. In Europe, a testosterone patch (Intrinsa) is approved for treating HSDD in postmenopausal women. It is not approved in the U.S.
Dr. Safarinejad told Reuters Health by email that studies have shown bupropion SR to improve sexual function in women who are having sexual side effects from selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs). For the current study, Dr. Safarinejad and colleagues randomly assigned 232 women between the ages of 20 and 40 to take either bupropion SR or a placebo every day for 12 weeks. All of the women had been diagnosed with HSDD and were free of depression or other major health problems.
At the outset, both groups of women had similar scores on the Brief Index of Sexual Functioning for Women (BISF-W) - - just under 16, on average. The average score for healthy women with a regular partner is 33.6, Dr. Safarinejad said. After 12 weeks, that score improved to 33.9 among women in the antidepressant group, versus 16.9 in the placebo group.
The most common side effects linked to bupropion included headache (affecting 9 percent of the group), insomnia and dry mouth (each affecting 7 percent), and nausea and muscle aches (each affecting 6 percent).
While the findings suggest that bupropion improves low sex drive, this is the first study to test the antidepressant in premenopausal women with HSDD. "Further studies are needed" to help researchers understand the role of bupropion in HSDD, Dr. Safarinejad noted.
Exactly why bupropion might improve sexual function is unclear. One theory attributes the effects to enhanced dopamine and norepinephrine activity.
Reuters Health Information © 2010
From Reuters Health Information