Female Viagra may be one step closer

Men have been using it for years to maintain their sex lives but until now, there haven’t been any medically approved drugs that can enhance a woman’s libido. But now, with American FDA approval on the way for female Viagra, we could see a dramatic change in the way sex drive is viewed – although not everyone is happy.

It’s commonly recognised that after menopause and really as we age, our sex drive decreases. Our bodies no longer want us to make a baby and have depleted us of vital hormones that encourage libido. What isn’t always recognised is that because women don’t exhibit physical obstacles to having sex, we’re sometimes overlooked.

That’s all set to change if the recent FDA panel is anything to go by. This week, a panel of advisors to the FDA recommended the US agency approve flibanserin (female Viagra), despite being rejected twice out of concerns for its side effects.

A 18-6 vote was passed to push for the drug to be approved by FDA standards, however critics are raising questions about its effectiveness in treating a low sex drive. According to Vox, these critics are accusing the pharmaceutical industry of inventing the term hypoactive sexual desire disorder.

So what is flibanserin? It’s a daily pill designed to treat low libido in pre and post menopausal women. The manufacturer, Sprout, needed to figure out how to make the drug safer before the FDA can approve it. One in five women who have tried the drug suffered from low blood pressure and consequent dizziness and fainting.

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Female Viagra is different to the male version in that it doesn’t stimulate blood flow, it increases dopamine levels in the brain. A clinical trial, reported by the New York Times showed that the drug worked, but only slightly – women in the study had one more incidence of sex per month than they were having before (two to three times a month).

At the advisory committee hearing for the drug, women who felt they could benefit for the medication gave emotional testimonies about how their lives were affected by a lack of sex drive.

But is a low sex drive really a medical condition, or just a condition created by pharmaceutical companies to sell drugs?

The director of the PharmedOut project at Georgetown University, Dr. Adriane J. Fugh-Berman testified at the committee hearing, calling flibanserin “a mediocre aphrodisiac with scary side effects”. She also said that marketing had won over science.

 

So tell us, would you try female Viagra? Or do you think that a low libido is just a fact of life?