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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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