What is flibanserin? Learn more about the ‘female Viagra’ the FDA rejected

pink pills
Will flibanserin ever become the little pink pill?
Credit: Colourbox

There are 24 FDA-approved drugs to treat sexual dysfunction for men. There are zero for women – and the FDA is keeping it that way after it announced on Tuesday that it was rejecting an experimental drug called flibanserin that treats low female sexual desire, reports Reuters.

The FDA did offer a plan to Sprout Pharmaceuticals so the company can eventually get the drug approved, but representatives from women’s advocacy groups like the National Organization for Women, the Center for Health and Gender Equity, Jewish Women International and the National Council of Women’s Organizations are saying that the FDA seems to be holding flibanserin to a higher standard than it does to male drugs, saying, “We see this not only as an important unmet women’s health issue, but an inflection point for the agency to ensure that similar standards are applied for drug approvals in conditions uniquely affecting women.”

Dr. Jed Kaminetsky of Manhattan Sexual Health and Wellness agrees. “There’s a lack of understanding of the problem and the prevalence of the problem,” he tells us. “There is a bit of sexism. People like the idea of sexy women but feel uncomfortable if women are too sexual – not that this drug is going to make women into overly sexual beings, but throughout history, people have been tempted to repress female sexuality. Eleven thousand women have used this drug and the FDA is still asking them to do more safety studies. I’m not sure what the FDA feels they’re protecting people from.” He points out that Viagra was approved much more easily with “less stringent studies and requirements.”

Though flibanserin has been touted as “female Viagra,” Kaminetsky says the way it works is very different. Unlike Viagra, which increases blood flow to the genitals, flibanserin works on the brain. “Blood flow is not the primary issue in women,” he says. “In most women, the more common problem is desire.” Moreover, women need to take flibanserin daily for it to reverse diminished sexual desire, whereas Viagra is “on demand,” as Kaminetsky describes it.

Kaminetsky points out that though flibanserin is for women, keeping it out of the market does not do anybody good. “I can help a man and give him a pill or injection or penile implant, but if his partner says no dice, it’s not going to do him any good,” he says. “It’s important for women and couples and all people. This is a common problem. Forty-three percent of women suffer from some degree of sexual dysfunction.”



News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
Local

Drive charged in fatal hit and run, police…

The NYPD has arrested a man they say is responsible for a fatal hit and run in Manhattan last weekend. Doohee Cho, 33, was hit…

Local

Mayor de Blasio raises minimum wage for some…

Mayor Bill de Blasio signed an executive order Tuesday morning that will raise the minimum wage for workers employed by private companies that receive more…

National

3 myths about the working poor

Linda Tirado works to debunk some common stereotypes about the working poor in her new book, "Hand to Mouth."

Money

Lawsuit funding advances: friend or foe?

Reporter was commissioned to write this in-depth article Many plaintiffs awaiting resolution of their lawsuit or legal claim often find themselves in a tricky financial…

Going Out

Which NYC restaurant lost its three-star Michelin rating?

A record 73 restaurants in New York City collected coveted Michelin stars on Tuesday as a mix of trendy spots and fine-dining stalwarts underscored the…

Entertainment

Interview: Metro chats with filmmaker Meir Kalmanson, man…

A New York filmmaker hands out smiles to its residents.

Television

TV watch list, Tuesday, Sept. 30: 'Selfie,' 'Utopia'…

'Selfie' This modern day take on the "My Fair Lady" story stars John Cho in the Henry Higgins role. Perhaps instead of "the rain in…

Music

Can't-miss weekend events continue to attract the masses

Reporter was commissioned to write this in-depth article Earlier this summer, the Firefly Music Festival drew crowds of tens of thousands of people to Dover, Delaware.…

MLB

Mets 2014 report card

The Mets wrapped up their eight straight season without a playoff appearance last weekend. Needless to say, they fell a bit short of general manager…

NFL

NFL Power Rankings: Cowboys, Packers, Ravens, Chargers climb

NFL Power Rankings: Cowboys, Packers, Ravens, Chargers climb

NFL

Ryan Quigley making a big impact for Jets…

Ryan Quigley, now in his second year as the Jets punter, had an exceptional afternoon with six punts for an average of 51.7 yards per punt.

NFL

3 positives to take from Jets loss to…

The Jets suffered another loss Sunday — 24-17 to the Lions — but the reason why it hurts so much for Jets fans is that…

Style

Products that support breast cancer awareness and research

Asics GT-1000, $100 Asics’ third pink collection in collaboration with Christina Applegate’s Right Action for Women includes this pink-accented version of its best-selling GT-1000 3…

Wellbeing

Dr. Marisa Weiss: Where we stand on breast…

As an oncologist and a survivor herself, Dr. Marisa Weiss knows the urgency felt by those diagnosed with breast cancer. Genetic testing has accelerated the…

Wellbeing

Bees' stingers hold new hope for cancer cure

A promising new lead in the search for a cancer cure has turned up in a place that most people naturally avoid. A team from…

Home

Emily Henderson on small space design

Design expert Emily Henderson shows us how to upgrade our cramped quarters.