Expert: Pharmacists Can Play a Huge Role in Educating Patients on Drugs Available for Sexual Health


Rachel Rubin, MD, an assistant clinical professor in urology at Georgetown University and a urologic surgeon, discusses some social and cultural aspects that may contribute to hypoactive sexual desire disorder going untreated in women.

Pharmacy Times interviewed Rachel Rubin, MD, an assistant clinical professor in urology at Georgetown University, a urologic surgeon who specializes in the treatment of sexual dysfunction in both men and women, and one of only a handful of physicians trained in both female and male sexual medicine, on hypoactive sexual desire disorder (HSDD) and the current treatments available for this medical condition.

Alana Hippensteele: What are some social and cultural aspects that might contribute to HSDD going untreated in women or of women not feeling comfortable discussing their symptoms with health care professionals?

Rachel Rubin: So, I think sexual education is really the elephant in the room that not enough people are talking about. I'm a sex doctor, and my only sex education was from a middle school gym teacher that I remember stood up front of us and I barely remember anything that he said during that class.

So, we do a terrible job of teaching people basic anatomy and physiology. How much better would we be as a society if we understood, ‘Hey, how does your penis work, how does the female orgasm work, what is actually happening here?’

So, it becomes very difficult to have conversations and to even talk about sex from a very real perspective because no one ever taught us how, and so how are we supposed to know how to do it? No one ever taught us.

Alana Hippensteele: Absolutely, yeah. What might the role of pharmacists be in relation to education on women's sexual health?

Rachel Rubin: So, I think pharmacists play a huge role in their ability to be comfortable with how dangerous drugs really are and any real major issues that come up. Also, pharmacists often make a lot of decisions about what's on formulary, what's available, or how things work, and so the more we can educate pharmacists on the treatment options available for both genders or all genders in terms of sexual health conditions, and also the more we can teach pharmacists to say, ‘Hey, sexual health is just health.’

It's okay for our patients to want Viagra and Cialis, and it's okay for our patients to want drugs to improve their libido because they're buying a lot of snake oil on the internet and supplements, gas station pills, or things that are not regulated and not understood, and so we should be using the products that we know are safe and that we know are effective in treating these conditions because people just want to have pleasure and enjoyment with the people that they love and that should be encouraged and also done as safe as possible.

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