Flibanserin Thrown Out By FDA: Is There A Cure for a Weak Female Libido?

7 years ago

When news that "Flibanserin," a drug touted as the "female Viagra" was soon to make it in front of the FDA, it garnered plenty of attention, and rightfully so. A drug that could possible enhance the mysterious female libido would be of great interest to many women and men who deal with the challenge of a low sex drive on a daily basis.

It wasn't without criticism, however, mostly from experts who agreed that the female libido is a multifaceted beast that could not be tackled or tamed with just one simple pill. That's not to say that all female libido problems can't be solved with a prescription. There are plenty of women that suffer from a lack of sexual desire for plain old physical reasons. And for them, a magic pill might just be the answer.

Even so, just a few weeks ago, Flibanserin was thrown out, with the FDA citing that the drug was not clearly effective in helping women with sexual dysfunction.

But with around 40 percent of women reporting some sort of sexual problems and only 12 percent actually seeking help, sexual dysfunction in women is something that should not go unnoticed. And more than likely, there will be a slew of attempts to create a "pink Viagra" in the near future. A recent NY Times article about Flibanserin states that the revenue from a female dysfunction drug could exceed four billion dollars.

Some might say the effort needs to be put in creating a "make men more attentive in the bedroom and around the house" pill instead.

The problem is that many women don't see lowered sex drive as a problem, rather as a result of various life occurrences, or worse, something that's just a part of life and that doesn't necessarily require fixing.

Thankfully, the combination of visible, outspoken sex-perts, a plethora of accessible resources, and real women sharing their personal stories are helping to change, albeit slowly, the viewpoints on female sexuality. In fact, the most frequent question I receive as sex columnist and sex book author "The Mominatrix" has to do with a waning libido.

And finally, many women are taking matters into their own hands. Literally.

Take Linda Poelzl, a sex educator and coach who was featured in a recent CNN.com article on Flibanserin and the subsequent use of alternative medicines and therapies to treat low sexual desire. Her story is just one of many women who are utilizing mainstream alternatives to treat their problems. And with the increased research and positive data when it comes to alternative therapies in general, it's not surprising that they are doing it with much success. Acupuncture has been shown to alleviate many ailments, from the stress to back pain to even women in labor, so why not use it to help reignite a burnt out fire? And many people rely heavily on herbal treatments for myriad illnesses, disorders, and serious diseases; certainly a lower level of hormones causing a lower sexual desire would be small potatoes.

However, as I discussed in a Mominatrix podcast about Flibanserin late last year, it's not a matter of taking one little pill or a regimen of herbs that will magically turn on a switch and wipe away all the other issues that lead to a lowered sexual desire in women -- like depression, lack of sleep, relationship issues, even physical pain.

And that's only four.

Whatever physical desire Flibanserin and even these herbal combinations and remedies could address, inevitably they are unable to break down the many barriers that often hinder a woman's sexual satisfaction. The rudimentary "blood to the body part" fix that Viagra and other male sexual dysfunction drugs provide will not solve the vastly complex female libido.

If that were the case, something would have been created years ago.

Of course, that doesn't mean some women wouldn't be interested in giving something like that a whirl.

Karen from Karen Chatters writes:

It sure as hell couldn't hurt and if there was one, I'd try it for sure. The pill wouldn't make up for the missed sleep and lack of energy but it would be nice to know that my husband and I could be on the same page at the same time. Why do the men get the pills that make them want/ready for sex and we get the pill that makes sure when they are ready, we don't get pregnant? Seems a bit unfair.

Others think that while it might help some women, libido issues go far beyond the physical.

Lisa from STL Family Life says:

I'm definitely not averse to a female libido drug or any medical type treatments for that matter. If it makes the quality of one's life better and makes the woman happy? I'm all for it. But I think that sometimes a lacking libido is a result of stress, being in an unhappy/satisfying relationship or a lack of energy. In that case, I wonder, would these drugs and treatments really do the trick or would you just be horny but still stressed out, tired, and in an unhappy relationship?

Liz from Goddess in Progress adds:

I'd love it if it were that simple, but there's such a big cognitive and emotional piece to desire. Is there a pill two make my husband do chores? Now that would definitely get my attention.

Hopefully, women will be more motivated to address their sexual issues rather than just accept them as the facts of life. And while there's no quick fix pill yet, there seem to be a growing number of resources, whether it's books, websites, or even a bucket full of herbs, for women who are ready and willing to recharge their batteries.

What do you think -- would you take a female Viagra or use alternative therapies for your low sex drive? Or is it more complicated than a simple fix?

Kristen Chase blogs at Motherhood Uncensored and writes a sex column for parents as "The Mominatrix." Her book "The Mominatrix's Guide to Sex," a funny, frank advice book for new and seasoned moms was published in December 2009 by Adams Media.

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