Wednesday Bubble: one pill makes you…

Posted by on Nov 18, 2009 in sexual desire, sexual health | 0 comments


Have you heard about Flibanserin? Pharma Giant Boehringer-Ingelheim is entering the bedroom with an antidepressant (with a new moniker) that may change the sex lives of women everywhere!

Sorry for the sarcasm but this Bubble has “Viagra for women” written all over it. In fact, the U.S. market for sexual desire is estimated to exceed a whopping $3.5 billion a year. No wonder other companies are so eager to market testosterone to women.

So what’s the story behind Flibanserin?

Flibanserin is an antidepressant compound that is is believed to affect brain receptors and neurotransmittors that play a role in sexual response. Data presented at the European Society for Sexual Medicine conference show that in clinical studies,  flibanserin significantly improved desire, sexual experience and sexual functioning in women when taken for at least six months. The majority of the women participating  were pre-menopausal and had been diagnosed with hypoactive sexual desire disorder (HSDD), a condition that is characterized by a decline in sexual desire, a loss of intimacy, and distress.

Declines in sexual desire at any point in life are terrible and not to be taken lightly. Should flibanserin becomes available in the United States, it is likely to be prescribed along with sex therapy, a move, that the company disagrees with. In fact, the company is quoted in Bloomberg News as saying that it hopes that the drug can be prescribed by itself and not as a complement to therapy. Importantly, this is where one has to start questioning the value of this drug and how it will ultimately be marketed should it ever be approved by the US Food & Drug Administration.

Many behavioral and mental health specialists will argue that “a pill has no place in the bedroom” and that sexual dysfunction is linked to factors other than physical ones, factors that need to be thoroughly explored and addressed. This holds true in particular, for  menopausal women. Indeed, evidence does show that t sexual desire in women can be affected not only by physiology but also, may vary depending on personal attitudes, experiences and context.

I don’t take issue with drugs when they are prescribed and used responsibly. But the answer to everything that ails is not a pill. With regards to sexual desire, this could not be truer.

Sex is big business. This has been borne out by the incredibly success of drugs geared towards erectile dysfunction. Companies have been racing to find an equivalent for women. Looks like Boehringher might have just gotten the gold ring.

What do you think?

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