Introduction: Human sexual response involves a complex sequencing of interrelated mind/body processes. Few treatment options exist that address the complex multilayered etiological determinants of female sexual dysfunction (FSD).
Aim: Review and evaluate the clinical application of centrally acting agents for the treatment of FSD, with particular emphasis on recently released data on bremelanotide.
Methods: Review of literature on the treatment of FSD.
Results: Approaches to FSD treatment have ranged from psychological counseling through a variety of medical interventions along the physiological pathways of sexual function and dysfunction. Despite a great deal of research, especially into hormonal and vasoactive substances, few therapeutics have broad consistent applicability and have withstood scientific scrutiny. Recent clinical trials have investigated the potential role of agents which act on the central nervous system for the treatment of FSD.
Conclusions: While the recent data supporting the therapeutic use of centrally acting agents as a monotherapy for FSD are cautiously encouraging, there would seem to be tremendous promise for these centrally acting compounds to be integrated with treatment approaches that utilize other pathways in a multilayered, individualized approach to care.