Female “Viagra” raises questions

Ever since word came out that approval could be near for a pill that can increase sexual desire in women, experts in sexual health have been inundated with questions. And the answers may be still a little elusive.

Two such drugs are in the pipeline, one called Lybrido  and the other called Lybridos . Each contains a small amount of libido-boosting testosterone, and each has gone through the initial testing phases before a wider study is required by the FDA. But that doesn’t mean that a green light is imminent. Three years ago, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) rejected a different drug (flibanserin) designed to improve desire because its effectiveness wasn’t deemed significant enough to justify the side effects (dizziness, nausea, anxiety, and insomnia). These two will be highly scrutinized before they clear significant regulatory hurdles.

The new drugs have a different active ingredient from the previous formulation, but sexual health experts say they may only be able to help a small subset of women with sexual desire problems. There can be many reasons or causes for a woman’s lack of interest in sex, and the drugs now being tested may work best on women who tend to have trouble experiencing sexual pleasure due to a lack of sensation.

The difference between the two drugs now being studied is the component other than testosterone that is present. In Lybrido, it’s sildenafil, yes, Viagra by another name, a substance that increases blood flow to the genitals
But sexual health experts say there are many other, nuanced reasons that women in long-term committed relationships have noticed a marked decrease in desire. Some cite boredom and routine as the culprits, noting that women need novelty and excitement to boost their libido. Others are concerned that a variety of psychological factors may be also at play, and that it’s an unrealistic promise for many women to believe that simply swallowing a pill can be the solution to the problems in their sexual relationships.. That could help those who’ve suffered any kind of nerve or vascular damage, and those taking antidepressants. In Lybridos, something different counteracts the desire-reducing properties of anti-depressants or other medications being used for anxiety. It’s an anti-anxiety component, buspirone which is also known to increase desire when used alone.

 

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Contributed by

James A. Simon

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