Wednesday, January 26, 2005

Back to Women and Desire

The other day, Jenn told me that a friend of hers said I might be interested in this story:

Apparently, this woman, a grad student, was prescribed Zoloft and not told at the time that it was known to cause decreased sexual desire in women.

In fact, when men are prescribed Zoloft and Prozac now, they're automatically given a prescription for Viagra as well.

But women, apparently, have to ask.

I told Jenn that if I'd ever been on one of these drugs, it would have taken me less than a month to figure this out, and I'd be pounding down my doctor's door.

But I digress.

So I was interested when I found this little Op-Ed piece confirming the fact that Zoloft and Prozac diminish sexual desire. In this case, the woman in question, once again, had to be proactive and bring up the subject with her doctor, who apparently hadn't thought to mention this little fact to her, either.

Cause women, you know, don't really ever think about sex.

The "happy ending" to this little piece is that apparently the doctor found a great drug for her to take in combination with her Zoloft to increase desire.

Great. Good on you.

But it might have been nice, you know, before hand, if women were told all of the side-effects, no?

7 comments so far. What are your thoughts?

Anonymous said...

I have a friend who went on the pill, only to find she lost all sexual desire. When she went to the doctor about it he say "is that so important?". Needless to say, she changed doctors. 

Posted by evelyn

Anonymous said...

As the article says, this is a side effect in about half of the patients on SSRIs, and good docs know to warn patients so patients don't end up feeling even worse and relationships don't get messed up through lack of information. 

Posted by NancyP

Anonymous said...

"I have a friend who went on the pill, only to find she lost all sexual desire. When she went to the doctor about it he say "is that so important?""

Would it be so inappropriate to deck this guy? Or at least throw your chart at him dismissively?

Once upon a time, aristocratic patients treated their physicians as lackeys. Now the proletariat is joining in, and the poor docs don't know what to do. 

Posted by Maureen

Anonymous said...

I have a friend who went on the pill, only to find she lost all sexual desire. When she went to the doctor about it he say "is that so important?".The utter stupidity of that astounds even me. What's the point of being on the pill, if you can't enjoy yourself because of it? ;) 

Posted by Emily

Anonymous said...

Nancy and Kameron nailed it here. This is a very well known problem with this class of drugs, the SSRI's. Nothing unusual here. But again with a male doc, they just seemingly look out for their own. Pretty short sighted too. How about the slightly older medieval custom where if your physician could not cure you, if you were powerful enough you could imprison and execute him? Wonder if the malpractice rates would go down then??  

Posted by VJ

Anonymous said...

When I went to the psychologist on campus (mostly because my roommate more or less forced me to go because I wasn't getting out of bed about half the days), she actually discussed it with me and we went with Wellbutrin instead (which worked wonderfully for me). 'Course, she was female, so maybe that sort of negates it as a good example, and the psychiatrist who actually had to write the prescriptions was male, and he never said a word about it. 

Posted by rabbit

Anonymous said...

Unfortunately, my *female* psych doc never mentioned this. I brought it up with her and she seemed irritated that it was an issue for me. To this day my libido is nearly nil. I tried a go without the meds though, and I think I forgot how badly I felt without them, and went back on a couple months later.

I am pretty damned resentful that what little testing there is going on for pharmaceuticals as they relate to the female libido seems to be going as slowly as possible, while some of these medications are approved in Europe. Not to mention, it all centers on post-menopausal women, which is fine, but with about twice as many women as men being treated for depression, this would not exactly be an orphan drug if developed. The drugs like Viagra haven't had much effect on women, but experiments with very small doses of testosterone have shown great promise. I guess they don't want women to have the male hormones. One can only guess at the Freudian implications of that, eh?

Maybe with some women the problem is mental (i.e. in her relationship with her partner or attitudes about sex) but I would bet that is a small minority. I love sex, I want to have sex as far as my mind is concerned, but the rest of me doesn't cooperate. I really fucking resent being in this position. (Hey! There is that "resent" word again!)

Thanks for giving me rant space AND for bringing this up.


Posted by Beverly