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Flibanserin: A Sex Pill for Women?

 
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Medications like Viagra, Levitra, and Cialis have revolutionized the male sexual health world and brought the subject of sex into the doctor’s office and out in the media. Commercials for erections are everywhere. The “male pill” has certainly enabled many older men, or men with vascular conditions or injury, to regain some sexual potency.

After its debut in 1998, sex researchers were busily trying to adapt Viagra to suit a women; it does not. It can lead to engorgement of the clitoris, perhaps helping lubrication, but it does not help achieve orgasm, increase desire, or decrease sexual pain.

In women, more often than not, desire must precede arousal (though the reverse is true), in order to become romantic. Many things can kill sexual desire, including stress, fatigue, bad relationships, menopause, surgery, and health conditions both physical and psychological. No less important, the loss of sexual desire must be bothersome.

For example, if a woman has no sexual desire but DOES NOT want to have sex, then her low desire is NOT a problem. Low desire or other sexual dysfunctions must lead to distress in order to merit treatment. So is there help for improving women’s desire on the horizon? Is there a magic pill for women?

Actually, there are medications already on the market that improve sexual desire in women. I will address testosterone supplementation, which is widely used to restore female libido, in a future post. It is effective and usually given in post-menopausal women, but must be monitored closely with blood tests, and there are risks with hormone replacement, and of course its use is still off-label in the U.S.

Therefore, is there something coming down the pike to help low sexual desire in women that is not hormonal?

In November 2009, a huge pooled phase III study was presented at a sexual conference in Europe. Flibanserin, which is still investigational, may be approved by the FDA within a year or two. In multiple large studies conducted throughout the U.S. and Europe, Flibanserin was shown, if taken once at bedtime, to significantly increase the number of satisfying sexual events and sexual desire.

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The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is holding a meeting on June 17 in which an advisory panel of experts will vote on whether to recommend that the agency approve the pill. Advisory votes are not always an indicator of what the FDA will actually decide so you will need to stay tuned to the news and EmpowHER to learn the decision. For more information on this drug, which is also known as the "pink pill" for women, please visit this page: http://www.empowher.com/pinkpill

June 17, 2010 - 6:29pm
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous

Is there something new going on with this? I thought I heard something on the radio about a pill for women coming out?

June 17, 2010 - 5:57pm
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous

I should have been more clear. I understand what the short term side effects are but no one really knows the long term side effects to date.

Also it is important to note that this drug showed women on flibanserin had one extra statisfying event per month on the drug when compared to placebo. Time will tell whether taking a medication for one extra satisfying event per month is what women desire for the cost etc.

May 16, 2010 - 7:56pm

Flibanserin works by blocking the action of serotonin. That's why so many SSRIs reduce orgasm and arousal, beucase they enhance serotonin levels, leading to mood boost. Flibanserin blocks serotonin leading to boost in arousal, desire.

A side effect is drowsiness, as one would expect, but you could always sleep afterwards. . . . . . .

May 3, 2010 - 12:30pm

Zestra enhances arousal not desire. But is worth trying.

April 22, 2010 - 5:51pm

One major concern is that no one really knows how this medication will work and what the long term side effects could be.

April 22, 2010 - 5:50pm
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous

One should always see a doctor before trying anything. But be aware that there are already nonprescription options available that have been proven to increase a woman's sex drive. One example is the over the counter arousal oil named Zestra. Two placebo-controlled studies published in the Journal of Sex and Marital Therapy showed that this blend of botanicals (including borage seed and evening primrose oils, Angelica root and vitamins C and E) provided a significant increase in arousal, desire, genital stimulation, ability to orgasm and pleasure. The treatment also worked equally well on women using SSRI antidepressant medicines.

April 19, 2010 - 11:50pm
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous

If all other avenues have been exhausted by a woman, such as having all of her hormone levels tested, such as her prolactin levels, I can see why she would want to try this medication. If you're in a good relationship and feel good about yourself and you still aren't interested in sex, then I could imagine trying it. Sadly, it wasn't started as a solution for women with low sex drives, but now that it's here, hopefully some women will find it helpful. More power to those women!

April 13, 2010 - 1:08pm
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous

Unfortunately, any medication that is controlled or prescribed can be abused/sold on the black market and obtained illegally. That doesn't make this potential treatment for millions of women any less worthy or or second-guessed. Most people are responsible and will use it responsibly. Anyone who palns to date rape and commit a crime doesn't need this drug to induce motivation. There are plenty of date rape drugs already easily available. The most common?--> Alcohol.

April 13, 2010 - 12:58pm
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous

Hmm, I don't know quit what to think about such an option. I think there could be some potential, and I think that it could help some women but unfortunately it will be abused by womans boyfriends/husbands etc. It could become the new form of a date rape drug, not the same but a step in the same direction. I think some teenage guys will be insisting that there is something wrong with their vulnerable girlfriends if they don't want it 4 times a day and try to get them on it.

April 13, 2010 - 8:42am
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