FDA rejects female Viagra

Anna | Published : Monday June 21, 2010 | Posted in : News

Flibanserin, the controversial drug that was initially developed as an anti-depressant, but which was found to work better as a female libido-booster, has been rejected by a panel of experts from the Food and Drug Administration.

The American drug regulator will now have to decide whether to allow the drug to go on sale. In most cases the FDA follows the advice of their experts, and in this situation their feeling seems to be particularly strong: ten members of the eleven-person panel rejected the treatment.

The specialists argued that the side-effects of the drug – which include headaches, dizziness and fatigue – do not outweigh its benefits. This is despite recent trials that were run by Boehringer Ingleheim, which showed that the drug gave women an average of four more satisfying sexual experiences a month, compared to a placebo.

‘Female Viagra’, as it has been dubbed by the press, has proven to be divisive among health specialists. Some have seen it as an unnecessary attempt by drug-makers to increase their profits. However, others have argued that we should be more open-minded. Supporters say that female sexual dysfunction is a real problem, which affects large numbers of women. If a drug can help some of these women, then this avenue should be explored, they argue.

Female sexual dysfunction is said to affect one in ten women. Symptoms include a consistent lack of interest in sex, and an inability to become aroused.

Intrinsa patches have helped some women to lift their sex drive. These testosterone patches were also rejected by the FDA, but have been approved in other parts of the world. In Britain, they are available on the NHS.

comments powered by Disqus