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New Drug May Increase Female Libido

By Bob Gordon     Nov 22, 2009 in Health
The German drugmaker, Boehringer Ingelheim GmbH, has begun clinical trials on flibanserin. The company believes the drug may alleviate female hypoactive sexual desire disorder, or HSDD, decrease women's inhibitions and enhance their desire and libido.
From November 15-18, Lyon hosted the 12th Annual Congress of the European Society for Sexual Medicine (ESSM). HSDD and flibanserin were central topics and Boehringer Ingelheim GmbH was a frequent presenter.
Often referred to as the 'female Viagra,' flibanserin, was tested in four clinical trials and the results were announced on Monday, November 16 at the ESSM Congress. The Globe & Mail provided a summary:
The researchers found that women who had fewer than three sexually satisfying experiences a month at the start of the trials were having 4.5 when they took 100 milligrams of flibanserin daily – compared with 3.7 who took a placebo. They say the drug also improved the women's sexual desire, as measured by the entries they kept in an electronic diary.
John M. Thorp Jr., M.D., McAllister distinguished professor of obstetrics and gynecology at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Medicine was the principal investigator for North America in the studies. He spoke at the November 16 press conference: " Astute observers noted that it increased libido.... So, we conducted multiple clinical trials and the women in our studies who took it for hypoactive sexual desire disorder reported significant improvements in sexual desire and satisfactory sexual experiences."
According to bloomberg.com the story of the drug's development is one of good luck rather than good management, and serendipity.
Boehringer ... was searching for a depression treatment in the 1990s when it stumbled on the compound, called flibanserin. By 2002, Boehringer found the drug wasn’t lifting patients’ mood. The company says researchers were startled when test subjects rated one measure of well-being, sexual appetite, consistently higher than the others.
Critics of the drug trials, and critics of the HSDD diagnosis, argue that the 'disease' model makes patients of healthy women; that the definition of the term is vague; and, ultimately, that the whole production is a marketing ploy by the pharmaceutical industry to generate a market for a failed anti-depressant.
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