It looks like the little blue pill is finally going to get the “pink” makeover that has been in the works for years now. A drug known as flibanserin which will be marketed under the name Addyi is being dubbed the “female Viagra” and is seeing a much bigger approval rating from the FDA advisory committee than it ever has in the past.
Back in 2010 we reported about how flibanserin, a drug thought to help women suffering from sexual dysfunction, was not impressive enough for the FDA to give their approval. There was a question of whether or not the pill performed significantly better than the placebo and if it was worth the risk of possible side effects.
Since then, USA Today reports about the drug poised to finally be approved by the FDA after winning over an advisory board that voted 18 - 6 to okay the drug. The drug is different than Viagra (which works by increasing blood flow to sex organs) in that it increases chemicals in a woman’s brain like dopamine and norepinephrine.
Critics of the “female Viagra” still have a lot of the same reservations they did years ago, especially regarding the drug’s side effects which can be magnified if taken with alcohol or birth control pills. Side effects include dizziness, lowered blood pressure and even blackouts. Member of the FDA advisory panel Kathryn Curtis explains her worries saying, “… it seems there are a lot of situations in addition to alcohol that are going to increase the drug and possibly lead to adverse effects.”
The effectiveness of the drug is also still up for debate with one survey of women with low libidos reporting that after taking filbanserin they can usually expect about one satisfying sexual experience a month. It might not sound like much, but for many women suffering lowered sex drive, this can make a world of difference. FDA panel member in favor of the drug’s approval Dr. Walid Gellad explains, “... there are many women that suffer and there are many women for whom the drug will work and there are many women for whom the drug will not work. The benefits are modest … maybe less than modest, but I think that puts it in good company with other approved drugs.”
What do you think of the drug being dubbed the “female Viagra”?
Do you think this new drug should be approved by the FDA even though the success margin is modest and there are potential side effects?
Why deal with potential side effects if the success rate is so low?