FDA approves ‘female Viagra’ drug, with safety precautions

5 Jun 2015

Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on LinkedInShare on Google+Pin on PinterestShare on RedditEmail this to someone

Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on LinkedInShare on Google+Pin on PinterestShare on RedditEmail this to someone

After years of campaigning from pharmaceutical companies and women’s rights groups, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has given approval for one company to develop a drug that would increase sex drive in women, similar to Viagra for men.

Called flibanserin, the drug is to be developed by the pharmaceutical company Sprout following the panel vote in the FDA, which voted 18-6 in favour of its entry into the market, but the administration has stressed that more testing must be done to ensure there are no damaging side effects.

According to The Guardian, it’s a case of ‘third time’s a charm’ as it has previously been rejected twice by the FDA since 2010.

Viagra, or sildenafil as it is officially known, has been available on the market for men as a treatment for erectile dysfunction since 1998, but in the intervening time there has yet to be a drug released to increase sexual libido in women.

As a drug, flibanserin works differently to sildenafil as it does not increase blood flow in the body, but rather alters the brain’s chemistry to increase sexual libido; it was first examined as a potential antidepressant.

An equal rights issue

Before the vote, a number of women gave testimony to the FDA asking that they seriously consider approving the drug for use as they had fears that they would never be able to have sex again.

One of the women who put herself forward for the trial, Amanda Parish, said of her experiences during the trial: “What a relationship-saving eight months that was.”

A female Viagra-like drug has been seen as not just a medical issue but also an equality issue among scientists, women’s rights groups and pharmaceutical companies, who feel there has been a major lack of balance with sexual dysfunction drug creation in favour of men.

Speaking in February in the Huffington Post, Anita H Clayton MD, interim chair of the Department of Psychiatry and Neurobehavioral Sciences at the University of Virginia, said: “While sexual dysfunction is more common in women than in men (43pc vs 31pc), the FDA has approved 24 treatments for sexual dysfunction in men and zero for hypoactive sexual desire disorder (HSDD) or low sexual desire that causes marked distress, the most common form of FSD (female sexual dysfunction).”

Inspirefest 2015 is Silicon Republic’s international event running 18-20 June in Dublin that connects sci-tech professionals passionate about the future of STEM with fresh perspectives on leadership, innovation and diversity.

Pharmaceutical development image via Shutterstock

 

66

DAYS

4

HOURS

26

MINUTES

Buy your tickets now!

Colm Gorey is a journalist with Siliconrepublic.com

editorial@siliconrepublic.com