Three years ago, an Ohio mother of four, age 37, took part in a clinical trial for Bremelanotide, Palatin Technologies' drug for Female Sexual Dysfunction (FSD). She did not want to use her name but she was willing to describe her experience for NJBIZ:
Q: Why did you sign up for the clinical trial?
A: My husband and I met when I was about 28, and until the time we had a second child, our sex life was great. After that, sex was pretty much the last thing on my mind. My life is generally good, but I would give anything to try to get my desire for sex back.
We went to my ob/gyn and she explained that there was no drug at all for this condition on the market for women. She suggested sex therapy, but I have my master's degree in counseling and I know what they'll tell you: Have sex every day and eventually you'll want it. I tried that and it doesn't work. Of course there are topical over-the-counter creams that are meant to stimulate you physically. While they do increase awareness of the area, they're not necessarily effective because your whole body is not in tune with the situation. Women need both body and mind to be involved.
So when I heard a commercial on the radio about the clinical trial, I signed up right away.
Q: What were the effects of the drug on your sex life?
A: I had three different sets of eight injections, not knowing what dosage I was being given or whether I was being given a placebo. So my reactions varied; sometimes I felt a lot of desire, other times not so much. When it was working, we were having sex twice a week or more. I was more relaxed and my husband was definitely much happier. During those times, I was very aware of my body and it was like, let's go. When it was bedtime, it was fun time.
Since the trial ended, sex has gone back to being the last thing on my mind.
Q: Some people call treatment for FSD a non-essential, or “lifestyle” drug.
A: How is that even fair? Men have all the treatments they want for sexual dysfunction, and you never hear anyone say that about Viagra, Cialis or testosterone. I feel bad for ladies who feel like it's their fault because they don't want sex. My husband has been pretty understanding, but some husbands can get really nasty about it.
People will say, “Oh, you have four kids, you're just tired,” but that's not it. I have some friends who are mothers and have jobs and are busy and they still want sex. And why do you think there are so many “romantic enhancement” products and parties directed toward women? I've been to a lot of them and, while they're fun, you can see how much this means to women. I've seen a lot of women crying and really upset when they're ordering products, even women as young as 20, because this issue is so important to them.
It's like having diabetes. You have a condition, you take a treatment for it. When a drug for FSD comes out, I'll definitely knock on my doctor's door and be like, all right, we're gonna get me some. – Lee Lusardi Connor