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Viagra for Women

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Doctors testing a new antidepressant found it was useless as a mood brightener -- but was unexpectedly effective at boosting the female libido.

It's been estimated that 1 in 4 women suffer from low desire in the U.S. But there may be hope: Three clinical trials have shown that the drug flibanserin significantly improved sexual desire and satisfaction in women. The makers of flibanserin hope to apply for FDA approval in the next year.

We asked OB/GYN Dr. Suzanne Gilberg-Lenz what she thinks of this new drug. "First off, pharmacologically, it is not anything like Viagra -- which increases blood flow. Also, this medication is still being studied and is not approved for any use. It works by altering brain chemistry, much like some serotonin and dopamine-altering antidepressants do. Of note, it was accidentally discovered because it was a failed antidepressant. While being studied as such, it was found to increase sexual desire in premenopausal women. The data generated by the new clinical trial that has drawn such widespread attention has not even been published or peer-reviewed yet, and was derived by studying approximately 1,800 women (50% placebo, 50% on the medication) over 24 weeks. It showed some clinically significant improvements in sexual desire and satisfaction."

Dr. Gilberg-Lenz continues: "It is interesting that this medication addresses what most sexual health experts know to be the issue for women who have distressing symptoms, including lack of sexual desire: the brain is most important! What I think is highly significant, however, is that this may be a case of a drug in search of a market ... up to 12% of the female population does experience distress over what is called 'hypoactive sexual disorder,' or a lack of interest in sex, but it has also been well-documented that most women who lack desire do not view it as a problem. A study about the problem of female sexual dysfunction published in our esteemed peer-reviewed journal 'Obstetrics and Gynecology' last year was funded by the same pharmaceutical company that makes flibanserin. Hmmmmmm. But then again, those 12% of women deserve to have safe and effective treatments available to them. Whether or not flibanserin is that treatment remains to be seen."

Would YOU try flibanserin?

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