The pink pill we’re supposed to be really excited about 46



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Regulators in the US have approved a drug called flibanserin, which everyone is referring to as “female viagra”, but there are several reasons this widely touted nickname is misleading.

Let’s put this “great moment in medical history” into context. A decade or so ago, a new treatment for angina, a condition that constricts blood vessels to the heart, was released that had an interesting side effect – it cured erectile dysfunction.

From that moment, the search was on: if drugs could bring men a better sex life, why not women?

Drug companies have expended incalculable time and money searching for this pink bullet that would have women diving into the sack with renewed vigour. Drugs have come and go, and there have been countless herbal remedies. And finally, this drug they’re calling  Addyi has claimed the title of “female viagra”.

Except that it’s not really.

Suzanne Moore, writing in the Guardian, says, “The promise of Addyi is rather like all female desire: mysterious and somehow problematic. Viagra locates the sexual disorder of men in the genitals and their mechanics. The problem for women is located in the brain.”

Addyi does not work on a woman’s genitals at a mechanical level the way viagra does. Instead, it targets neurotransmitters in the brain, acting on the brain’s “sexual impulses” in a similar way antidepressants such as Prozac work.

There are other very important differences: one does not pop an Addyi on a date night, instead, the drug must be taken every day. Oh, and definitely don’t pop the champagne because it reacts badly with alcohol.

For all the media hype, it is also worth noting that this drug is not designed for the general lack of libido that comes with age and witnessing the growth of one’s husband’s ear hair. It has been created for a specific condition called hypoactive sexual desire disorder, or sudden and severe loss of libido, and has best results on pre-menopausal women.

We don’t mean to disappoint, but in other words, this drug is simply not what it’s being worked up to be by the media frenzy.

It’s not even very safe. The side effects, which include low blood pressure and potential blacking out, hardly make it worthwhile, and it was rejected three times before finally being approved.

And so the search for a true “female viagra” must continue, do you think they’ll ever find it, or do you think female libido is a matter too complex for a simple pill?


Starts at 60 Writers

The Starts at 60 writers team seek out interesting topics and write them especially for you.

  1. Do men still not understand that women experience it differently to them? A pill is not going to do it!

  2. a man ( whose wife doesn’t understand him) created this pill. do men not realise a woman changes after childbirth & as she gets older. mum was right. all men think about is their stomach & what hangs beneath it. however i am very happily married for 43 years. go figure

    6 REPLY
    • Please do not say “ALL” men. I helped my wife get over post natal depression and I helped her endure two and a half years of ovarian cancer. I always think I never did enough but family tell me I could not have done any more. Would it have been any different if a woman had have invented this “libido” pill?

    • Brian, there are a lot of us out there who gone through similar things and I do get an now when we are all tarred with the same brush.

    • I don’t get annoyed Murray just disappointed at how males seem to get tarred with the same brush. I don’t take it personally (well maybe sometimes) or try not to, we are not all bad or thoughtless.

    • I think it’s a tragedy that the best part of life is treated like it’s dirty which is why so many women never experience how wonderful it can be. I don’t blame men, I blame our society because it expects that everything will be hunky dory on your wedding night, when it rarely ever is! I spent years wondering what the fuss was all about too. I know only 25% of women actually enjoy it to its full potential, which is the real tragedy. A little bit of education can resolve this problem but no-one is really willing to talk about it. Let’s just say there are a lot of women out there living on anti-depressants, when a little natural ‘therapy’ would help what ails them. Just imagine if they were men. Men who could not achieve sexual satisfaction – ever! It is a big problem. Women deserve better – and their men do too!

    • The taboo and the embarrassment stopped a lot of parents talking to their children. Shame. I have always been straight up with my son when he was growing up. He was never afraid to ask me anything as he knew I would answer him the best way I could honestly. Then there is the stigma religion placed on “sex” to deal with as well.

    • my point is, just because some survey says you should have sex this many times a week then you’re not normal. all couples should be able to make up their own minds about what is normal for them & if it’s not what the survey says then so what. sometimes a woman just needs to be held not have to perform if she doesn’t want to. the same for a man. sex is what it is & is different for us all. a little pill should not put anyone under pressure. for anyone with a problem then ok but it should be about closeness & pleasure for both partners not a company peddling their wares

  3. Men should try washing dishes putting out garbage vacuuming etc.

    3 REPLY
    • I guess I am lucky – my wonderful Canadian husband of 35 years has done all the housework, laundry, cooking and driving me to the hospital every day for early breast cancer radiotherapy.
      His mother taught him well!
      Thank you Dan.

    • We do. My wife is disabled so unable to do any of these and I quite happily do the housework and cooking.

  4. Gosh and just think from taking this pill that works in your brain you may enjoy 1 extra sexual encounter a month. gee watch the stampede to the pharmacies! Love Wendy Hagarty comment!

  5. well some men still don’t know where it starts…yep..that would be the brain………..and these pills will have a lot of die affects methinks…

  6. We should be EDUCATING women on how to achieve orgasm. We teach them everything but. It is something that can be learned. It’s not the mystery of life for goodness sake! It’s just something we are not supposed to talk about. THE most important thing we will ever learn. For men it’s easy. It’s easy for women too, once they know how! The problem is, we expect men to teach us? Something they can’t possibly understand!

    2 REPLY
  7. You will probably find that it will have more detrimental effects on your health. Be wary about taking it when you are young and before children, apart from maybe causing your infertility, it may cause your unborn babies to be sterile.
    Sounds ridiculous hey? But depopulation is the name of the game these days. Just ask Bill Gates.

    1 REPLY

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