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Potential drug for female sexual dysfunction encounters skepticism

June 16, 2010 |  1:34 pm

GlassIf the media attention given to today's coverage of Food and Drug Administration documents is any indication, questions about flibanserin's effectiveness in treating female sexual dysfunction are about to increase. Questions about the condition itself might increase as well.

The Food and Drug Administration will soon consider whether to approve the new medication, which many people desperately hope will become a so-called female Viagra. Some of those people will be women who want to take the drug; many others will have more prosaic (read: money-based) concerns. Amid all the hype and hope, however, are some industry watchers and female health experts who aren't convinced there's a problem that needs to be fixed.

Time neatly summarizes the issues in this recent article: Female Sexual Dysfunction: Myth or Malady?

For a more in-depth argument, read The making of a disease: female sexual dysfunction, by journalist Ray Moynihan, published in 2003 in the British Medical Journal.

And, of course, there's the new film Orgasm Inc. Here's the trailer.

The documentary's director is quoted in this earlier blog post on flibanserin research. Relationship problems, stress ... those might just play a role in libido problems, she points out.

Today's Reuters story -- on apparent skepticism from FDA drug reviewers preparing documents for the agency's advisory panel -- notes that the market for treating sexual dysfunction in women could top $2 billion a year. 

-- Tami Dennis

Photo credit: Los Angeles Times

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Comments (2)

DOUBLE STANDARD! Sorry...but the "women's sex dysfunction is mental" argument doesn't hold water...simply because if it is true of women, it would also be true of men. Or, to take the opposite: if we have a drug that makes sex more pleasurable for men via increased blood flow to the penis, a drug should be available to increase blood flow to a woman's clitoris. Why does the "for women it's mental but not for men" double standard continue to exist? Very frustrating.

Viagra works almost as well for women as it does for men.

How is it possible the world does not know this?

Of course it increases blood flow for women!

I know manny, many women who have reported lots of fun with Viagra.

This is an "off label" use and therefor cannot be supported by doctors.

Do not even think of taking Viagra if you are on nitrates as it may well kill you in or near the saddle.


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