Booster Shots

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New drug could boost women's libido

November 14, 2009 |  2:00 pm

Women may soon have their own version of men's little blue pill for enhancing sexual appetite, according to the Bloomberg news service.

The experimental drug, called flibanserin, was originally developed in the 1990s by Germany's Boehringer Ingelheim GmbH as an antidepressant. By 2002, the company knew that the drug did not lift spirits, but it did seem to increase the desire for sex. The company has so far said little about clinical trails of the drug for this purpose, but is expected to present results on studies in 5,000 women Monday at the European Society for Sexual Medicine.

A survey of 31,000 U.S. women by the company found that one in 10 expressed distress because of diminished sexual drive.  Experts thus predict that the market for the drug, if it is approved, could be bigger than the $2 billion annual sales of erectile dysfunction treatments.

The big question is, what will they use instead of a bathtub in their television advertisements?

-- Thomas H. Maugh II