Send to

Choose Destination
Sex Med Rev. 2019 Jun 10. pii: S2050-0521(19)30039-3. doi: 10.1016/j.sxmr.2019.04.003. [Epub ahead of print]

Weight Loss in Women Taking Flibanserin for Hypoactive Sexual Desire Disorder (HSDD): Insights Into Potential Mechanisms.

Author information

Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, George Washington University School of Medicine and IntimMedicine Specialists, Washington, DC, USA.
Departments of Psychiatry and Reproductive Biology, Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine, Cleveland, OH, USA.
Sexual Medicine, Alvarado Hospital, San Diego, CA, USA.
Institute for Sexual Medicine, San Diego, CA, USA. Electronic address:
Sprout Pharmaceuticals, Inc., Raleigh, NC, USA.
Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Stanford University School of Medicine, Stanford, CA, USA.



Flibanserin, a multifunctional serotonin receptor agonist and antagonist, is currently approved in the United States and Canada for the treatment of acquired, generalized hypoactive sexual desire disorder (HSDD) in premenopausal women. A post hoc analysis of HSDD clinical trial data found that flibanserin treatment was associated with statistically significant weight loss relative to placebo, even though study patients were not selected for being overweight/obese and were provided no expectation for weight reduction or interventions intended to promote weight loss.


To understand possible mechanisms by which flibanserin may produce weight loss.


A literature review was performed using Medline database for relevant publications on the mechanisms of action by which flibanserin may provide weight loss and the links between sexual function and weight management.


Examination of (i) biopsychosocial factors regulating sexual desire, food intake, and weight regulation; (ii) clinical pharmacology of flibanserin; (iii) neurobiology of brain reward circuitry; and (iv) identification of possible mechanisms common to flibanserin and weight loss.


Based on flibanserin clinical trial data, there was no consistent correlation between weight loss and improvement in sexual function, as assessed by HSDD outcome measures. Nausea, a common adverse event associated with flibanserin use, also did not appear to be a contributing factor to weight loss. Hypothetical links between flibanserin treatment and weight loss include modulation of peripheral 5-HT2A receptors and factors such as improved mood and improved sleep.


Mechanisms of flibanserin-induced weight loss have not been well characterized but may involve indirect beneficial effects on peripheral 5-HT2A receptors and central regulation of mood and sleep. Future research may better elucidate the links between sexual function and weight management and the mechanism(s) by which flibanserin use may result in weight loss. Simon JA, Kingsberg SA, Goldstein I, et al. Weight Loss in Women Taking Flibanserin for Hypoactive Sexual Desire Disorder (HSDD): Insights into Potential Mechanisms. Sex Med Rev 2019;XX:XXX-XXX.


Biopsychosocial; Brain Reward Center Circuit; Sexual Desire; Weight Loss


Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Elsevier Science
Loading ...
Support Center