Health

The Little Pink Pill

FDA approves 'Viagra for her' for low female sex drive

Another barrier between men and women is crumbling.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration this week approved “pink Viagra” for women. Marketed as “Addyi,” flibanserin is a new drug to treat Hypoactive Sexual Desire Disorder in pre-menopausal women, known as HSDD. Prior to Addyi’s approval, there were no FDA-approved treatments for sexual desire disorders in men or women, the FDA reported Tuesday.

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Because men have had access to the little blue pill, Viagra, since 1998 for sexual disorders, some American women felt there was a double standard. However, following many years of controversy, and concerns over health risks associated with flibanserin, Addyi is being approved “with a risk evaluation and mitigation strategy which includes elements to assure safe use,” the FDA reported.

HSDD can affect about one in 10 women.

Some women aren’t quite sure what to think of the new “pink Viagra.”

“The idea sounds lovely,” said a 43-year-old mother of three and a business owner who asked not to be identified. “But am I going to constantly want to have sex … like a guy?”

She said as a correction for a legitimate medical problem, Addyi may have a place. Flibanserin, classified as an antidepressant, was approved for treatment of HSDD in women who have not yet reached menopause.

“But on the flip side, how much will it be used as a recreational drug?” Kylie asked. “I already have a frisky husband. Do I really want to let him know about it? Will there be an ongoing expectation because of it? This is opening Pandora’s Box.”

Would she be willing to take a daily pill or use it long-term?

“Like a vitamin?” she asked. “Probably not.”

Would she be willing to take a daily pill or use it long-term? “Like a vitamin?” one woman asked. “Probably not.”

Some physicians aren’t so sure about Addyi. While it is being called the “female Viagra,” it’s not the same.

“Viagra addresses a physical problem in men, who take it to achieve and maintain an erection,” said one ER physician who does his own pharma research and asked to remain anonymous. “And they take it, as needed and desired, before sex. Addyi doesn’t treat a physical performance problem in women. Addyi targets brain chemicals in women, to improve their sense of desire for their partner.”

Importantly, women would need to take Addyi every single night.

A 45-year-old mother of two, politically astute and active in politics, who asked not to be identified, was more cynical about the new female Viagra.

“Scientific journals and research are so agenda driven that I have to question the entire process,” she said. “My first impression is I’m not fond of a drug being pushed through the FDA on financial considerations.”

She referred to Sprout Pharmaceuticals, which bought the rights to flibanserin in 2011.

“A campaign called ‘Even the Score’ has charged that gender bias at the FDA has left women with sexual problems stranded, while 26 products for men have been waved through the approval process since Viagra was approved in 1998,” the Los Angeles Times reported. “The lobbying campaign was launched and largely funded by Sprout but joined by many women’s health advocates and consumer groups that got members of Congress to send the FDA letters in support of the drug.”

The 45-year-old mother called the drug and assessments “patronizing.” She said medical drug experts have claimed that once women have something they like, they will want more. And she said it’s perfectly normal for women to have a lower libido as they age.

“It’s that way for biological reasons,” she said. “At a certain age, we naturally don’t want to have more babies.”

She was concerned with recreational use, as was the other woman.

“How would it effect women if it was used like a roofie – Rohypnol, the date rape drug?” she asked. “I mean, we’re not exactly sneaking Viagra into our husbands’ morning oatmeal.”

Buzzkill alert: The ER physician was concerned about Addyi, he said, because it would only work on women with a significantly low sex drive.

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