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

MTA announces service changes for Sunday

The MTA has announced service changes ahead of Sunday's People's Climate March, which will be held from 11:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Sunday. Riders using…

Local

NYPD launches Twitter account for L train

The NYPD recently launched a Twitter handle dedicated to the L train and its riders. According to @NYPDLtrain, officers went underground Thursday morning to hand…

Local

Bushwick community space offers activists a place to…

A new Bushwick community space offers community activists to meet, create, learn and throw back a few cold ones. MayDay, located 214 Starr Street in Bushwick,…

Local

Activists gearing up for Sunday's "historic" People's Climate…

If all goes according to plan, more than 100,000 people will gather near Central Park West on Sunday morning and march through midtown to raise…

Movies

Kevin Smith makes peace with the Internet

I was thinking about Ain't It Cool News and Harry Knowles last night, wondering if anyone from Ain't It Cool had reviewed my new movie…

Movies

Art imitates life in 'Swim Little Fish Swim'

There's a certain comfort to be taken in finding that young artists are still moving to New York and trying to make it — and…

Movies

Review: Terry Gilliam's 'The Zero Theorem' is better…

Terry Gilliam's latest, "The Zero Theorem," concerns a reclusive malcontent (Christoph Waltz) struggling with the search for the meaning of life.

Music

Esperanza Spalding and a being called Emily get…

Esperanza Spalding is about to spiral off in a brand new direction that may or may include an alter ego named Emily.

NFL

Oday Aboushi ready for increased role, and to…

Oday Aboushi might feel comfortable enough to engage in some trash talk the next time he is on the field.

NFL

Giants vs. Texans: 3 things to watch

The Giants host the surprising Texans (2-0) in what may already be a must-win game for Big Blue.

NFL

Eric Decker misses practice again, could miss Monday

Jets wide receiver Eric Decker missed practice Thursday as he continues to rehab a hamstring injury suffered last Sunday.

MLB

Derek Jeter still focused on baseball as final…

Derek Jeter has effectively hid his emotions for 20 years in the Bronx.

Parenting

A sneaky way to serve kids fruits and…

"My First Juices and Smoothies" gives smoothie recipes for kids.

Style

3 things we love from Day 1 of…

The highlights from Day 1 of Milan Fashion Week.

Sex

Why don't more couples use condoms?

  Call it the “condom moment.” That’s the name the authors of a new study have given to the pivotal conversation every couple should be…

Sex

Need an idea for a first date? Here's…

Picture your idea of a nice first date. Is it dinner and a movie? A visit to an interesting museum exhibit? Instead, an expert on…