The Daily Telegraph

Sex drive jab could be remedy for low libido

Patient ‘Peter’ conceived a son within a week and reported how treatment had been life-changing


PEOPLE plagued with low libido may soon be cured by an injection, according to a study’s findings.

One in 12 men and one in 10 women suffer from hypoactive sexual desire disorder (HSDD) – distress caused by a lack of desire.

Scientists at Imperial College London gave 32 men and 32 women with HSDD a treatment of the hormone kisspeptin.

It is made naturally by the body and stimulates the release of other reproducti­ve hormones.

Previous studies have shown that giving this hormone to people with no sexual issues can enhance responses to sexual stimuli and boost attraction.

For the new study, the scientists gave HSDD patients either a placebo or two doses of kisspeptin, administer­ed as two 75-minute intravenou­s injections a week apart.

Brain scans found kisspeptin improved sexual processing in the minds of both women and men, resulting in positive effects on sexual behaviour compared with the placebo. They say these are the first clinical studies to explore the ability of the hormone to boost the sexual parts of the brain in women and men distressed by their low sexual desire.

A 44-year-old trial volunteer with the alias Peter enrolled because of problems with his sexual appetite and performanc­e.

He said: “It had always been detrimenta­l to sustaining relationsh­ips. I would often make excuses as to why my sexual appetite was low.

“For example, I would blame stress at work or tiredness instead of being honest. I had tried other performanc­e-supporting medication like Viagra.

However, this proved ineffectiv­e as the issue was simply one of low desire.

“It was highly embarrassi­ng and not something I felt able to talk to my previous partners about. I feared they would confuse it with lack of attraction to them. I was keen to learn whether there was a solution to my problem and learn more about my condition.”

Peter adds that he felt more sexual desire after his injection, which he received in June 2021, and that within a week of the treatment conceived his son. He said: “I had the best possible outcome as a result of the trial, which has been life-changing for me.”

Dr Alexander Comninos, from the Department of Metabolism, Digestion and Reproducti­on at Imperial College London, said: “Low sexual desire can be distressin­g and so result in HSDD.

“This can have a major detrimenta­l impact on relationsh­ips, mental health and fertility. Even though it is relatively common, treatment options in women are limited, carry significan­t side effects and in some cases can be harmful to even try. And, unfortunat­ely, these treatments have limited effectiven­ess.

“In men there are no licensed treatments and none on the horizon. Therefore, there is a real unmet need to find new, safer and more effective therapies for this distressin­g condition for both women and men seeking treatment.

“Our two studies provide proof-of-concept for the developmen­t of kisspeptin treatments, as we provide the first evidence that kisspeptin is a potentiall­y safe and effective therapy for both women and men with distressin­g low sexual desire.”

Researcher­s also found kisspeptin could also increase penis rigidity by up to 56 per cent.

The hormone was well tolerated by both women and men with no side effects.

Researcher­s are next planning to test it for sexual problems that are psychologi­cal in origin, such as unexplaine­d low libido.

The findings were published in the online journal

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