News Friday May 6, 2011

Female Viagra abandoned

Development of the 'female Viagra' pill flibanserin has been halted after the American Food and Drug Administration decided to disapprove the drug.

Clinical trials showed Flibanserin to be of little "statistical improvement" to a placebo. As a result of the FDA's decision, drug manufacturer Boehringer Ingleheim has announced that it wants to focus its attention on the development of other drugs.

The German firm cited "the complexity and extent of further questions that would need to be addressed to potentially obtain registration." They said the decision had "not be taken lightly" because the drug development was at such an advanced stage. Boehringer still believes the pill could have potentially helped treat female sexual dysfunction. Female sexual dysfunction or 'hypoactive sexual desire disorder' affects millions of women. The condition is particularly prevalent amongst menopausal women. One treatment, Intrinsa, has been specifically designed to help women with surgically-induced menopause. Surgically-induced menopause follows the removal of the ovaries (hysterectomy). Low sex drive may be one of the results of this procedure.

The search for a 'female Viagra' has been a hot topic amongst drug specialists over the past decade. Pfizer, the firm that produced male impotence treatment Viagra attempted to develop a drug for female sexual dysfunction. However, they abandoned their efforts in 2005.

Female sexual dysfunction has been a point of contention in the medical community. Some doctors argue that the condition deserves more attention; others dispute whether it really exists or not. One such critic is the filmmaker Liz Canning who created a documentary called "Orgasm inc" to extol her theory that FSD is not a genuine problem. On the other hand, experts have argued that female sexual dysfunction is real and is common. FSD can impact on women's self-esteem and their relationships. Estimates suggest that as many as four in ten women will experience problems with their libido at some point.

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