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"Female Viagra" A Flop, Says FDA Panel

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female viagra "Female Viagra" A Flop, Says FDA Panel

Women in study had more sex, but no increase in desire. (iStockphoto)

(CBS)  The wait for a pill to prop up women’s sagging sex drives might be longer than expected.

An FDA panel weighing whether to green-light flibanserin, the so called “female Viagra,” say the drug failed to boost women’s libidos in recent studies.

What’s more, many women who took the once-a-day drug experienced significant side effects, including depression, fatigue, and fainting.

The studies involved about 2,400 women, who were treated with either flibanserin or a placebo. Women in both groups showed an increase in the number of sexually satisfying events but didn’t show any increase in sexual desire.

Side effects forced about 15 percent of the women taking flibanserin to stop taking the drug, twice as many women as in the placebo group.

Flibanserin’s manufacturer, German firm Boehringer Ingelheim, maintains that the drug provides an option for women with what doctors call “hypoactive sexual desire disorder, noting that current options are “extremely limited,” according to the Wall Street Journal.

Even if flibanserin is approved by the FDA, some doubt that women will flock to the drug, which must be taken on a daily basis. In contrast, men with erectile dysfunction need to take Viagra or similar drugs only in advance of sexual activity.

“Both of those things, that it’s a chronic drug and that it works on brain chemistry, raise important safety questions,” Amy Allina, program and policy director of the National Women’s Health Network, told the Wall Street Journal.

Some doctors, too, have expressed doubts about the drug, saying a pill can’t fix a troubled relationship or ease the burden of childcare or housework, the Daily Mail reports.

“It’s a fairly complicated area, unlike in men’s sexual dysfunction where there’s a major mechanical concern,” said Dr. Elizabeth Kavaler, a urologist at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York. “In women there’s no mechanical concern, so if she’s not having a successful sex life, where is the problem?”
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