At Last: Viagra For Women

Drug makers are testing new drugs that may be able to increase sexual desire in women.
A drug to boost female sex drive could be worth billions to the first company that manages to get it approved by the FDA. Recently, two new treatments have made strides towards that goal. But some are skeptical of the real value of such a drug to the women it’s supposed to help.
In late 2004, FDA approval of Intrinsa, a testosterone patch for low female sex drive, seemed imminent. News reports heralded Intrinsa as a “Viagra for her,” suggesting that it would revolutionize sexual health for women just as erectile dysfunction pills had for men.

Except an FDA advisory panel saw things differently. Finding numerous problems with the evidence for the drug’s effectiveness and safety, experts on the panel voted against approving it. Procter & Gamble, the company responsible for Intrinsa, withdrew its application. Now the frontrunner in the race to market the first prescription drug for low female sex drive is Boehringher-Ingelheim Pharmaceuticals. It has a drug called flibanserin in phase III clinical trials, the final phase of drug testing required for FDA approval. The company is a WebMD sponsor.
Flibanserin is a bit mysterious. It is a kind of antidepressant, but it hasn’t been approved previously for any use. Boehringher-Ingelheim is saying little publicly about the drug. At the moment we are not sure how the drug works or what is the mechanism of action of flibanserin.
Another drug, called bremelanotide, is in development for low female sex drive and male erectile dysfunction. Both potential uses are being tested in clinical trials, which are early studies to assess how well a drug works and how safe it is.
Bremelanotide is a new chemical created in the laboratory. It’s given in the form of a nasal spray, and it acts on the central nervous system.
Bottom Line: Stay tuned as a pill for women suffering from sexual dysfunction may be just around the corner at a pharmacy near you.

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