Both men and women can suffer from sexual dysfunction, but there are no drugs available to treat the condition for women on the market currently. Flibanserin, also known as the little pink pill, is trying to change that. In 2010, the FDA denied Flibanserin of approval, and today Sprouts Pharmaceuticals, owner of the pill, is trying to appeal the decision.
If the decision is successfully appealed, Flibanserin could be available as early as next year. Learn how the pink pill can make a difference in women’s health and why it is important for women.
1) There are 25 drugs for male sexual dysfunction, but zero for women.
Currently, 25 approved drugs exist on the market for men suffering from some form of male sexual dysfunction, but there are zero available for women dealing with similar issues.
2) Flibanserin, or the Pink Pill, would be the first treatment for Hypoactive Sexual Desire Disorder (HSDD).
Hypoactive sexual desire disorder (HSDD) is the most common type of sexual dysfunction among women. There are no medical treatment options available for HSDD today, Cindy Whitehead, President and Chief Operating Officer of Sprout Pharmaceuticals, which owns Flibanserin, said on ABC’s “Nightline”.
3) As many as 1 in 10 women suffer from HSDD.
Women suffering from HSDD experience an absence or lack of sexual desires. While sexual dysfunction for men is visible, it can’t be seen with women. However, HSDD affects many women and can harm both their relationships as well as sexual well-being. “Nightline” reported that about 1 out of every 10 women suffers from HSDD, according to the International Journal of Women's Health.
4) Flibanserin is targeted to women’s sexual dysfunction issues.
On ABC’s “Nightline,” Whitehead explained how the brain is a woman’s biggest sexual organ and that’s what Flibanserin specifically targets. While drugs for male sexual dysfunction such as Viagra focus on issues with blood flow, Flibanserin works on key chemicals in the brain. However, while Viagra is taken as needed, Flibanserin must be taken every day.
5) The Pink Pill could improve sexual well-being as well as relationships for women.
One thousand women participated in trials for Flibanserin, according to “Nightline.” Results from Sprouts Pharmaceuticals showed that on average, the amount of “satisfying sexual events” doubled among women who took the pill. Women also said they experienced a 50 percent increase in sexual desires.
6) Greater knowledge of HSDD could grow the conversation of female sexual dysfunction and make the condition more widely accepted.
Because male sexual dysfunction is more well-known than female sexual dysfunction, talking about their own sexual dysfunction is still a taboo subject for many women. An FDA-approved treatment for HSDD could make the condition more widely known. Many women who do suffer from HSDD don’t realize that other women are experiencing the same issues, so they keep quiet about their troubles.
It is worth noting that opponents of Flibanserin believe the pill is more of a marketing ploy and is being pushed by doctors who have received financial compensation from Sprouts Pharmaceuticals. Some also say that HSDD is a condition created by the drug industry to sell a prescription, according to an article by Slate. Most agree that women deserve to have their problems with sex taken seriously, they are just not in agreement that approving the use of this pill is the way to do it.
7) Many think the denial of the Pink Pill is an issue of sexism.
When the FDA did not approve Flibanserin, many people believed that sexism was a factor in their final decision. “What [the FDA] basically said to us is in the risk-benefit evaluation, they felt that Flibanserin’s effect was only modest. And therefore they didn’t give us an approval,” Whitehead said on “Nightline.” However, the denial of Flibanserin triggered a sexism controversy as many argued that if men have so many treatment options for sexual dysfunction, women should as well.
8) Getting FDA-approval of Flibanserin would mark a pivotal moment in women’s health.
If approved, Flibanserin would not only be the first treatment available for HSDD, but would also give women equality in their own sexual health. A large amount of women are affected by female sexual dysfunction daily. An FDA-approved treatment for their condition could signify an important milestone in women’s health.