Study: "Female Viagra" Flibanserin Works

Need a boost to your sex life? The magic could be in a little pill.

On "The Early Show" CBS News Medical Correspondent Dr. Jennifer Ashton said that magic could be on the way, as a new study shows one pill could improve sex drive and satisfaction in women. It's being called "female Viagra."

Special Section: Dr. Jennifer Ashton
Video Series: Dr. Ashton's Health and Wellness

Ashton said a new paper from the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists reports that after a 24-week treatment of the pill Flibanserin, women found improvement in their decreased sexual desire.

Flibanserin has not been approved by the Food and Drug Administration, and is currently in development.

Ashton explained this drug was originally developed as an antidepressant. This study, which was funded by the drug's manufacturer, looked at women who reported Hypoactive Sexual Desire Disorder, a persistent lack of sexual desire. They looked at 1,378 women. About half of them took Flibanserin for 24 weeks. Researchers found the women who took Flibanserin reported an 18 percent improvement in sexual desire compared to the placebo group.

Another one of the studies, which was also funded by the drug manufacturer, found that it started to work after four weeks, with higher sexual desire and lower distress.

But how does this female "Viagra" work?

Ashton explained Viagra, which is a stimulant for men, increases blood flow. However, Flibanserin is non-hormonal, Ashton said, and according to one researcher may affect a female's mind and the neurotransmitters in the central nervous system.

As for side effects, according to the drug manufacturer, most were mild. The most common side effects were dizziness, nausea, fatigue and insomnia.

Low sex drive among women, Ashton said, is caused by often complex or numerous factors.

Some possible causes:

Hormonal changes - notably menopause or pregnancy or breast-feeding.
Depression
Stress/anxiety - could be based on relationship problems
Medications like antidepressants or blood pressure medicines. Recently a new study said women using birth control pills could be at higher risk for sexual problems.

For now, Ashton suggested women can improve their sex drive by consulting a sexual therapist. She also suggested couples therapy.

"You want to get at the root problem," she said. "If it's something like depression or a medication side-effect, deal with those things and hopefully you'll see an improvement in your sex life."
  • CBSNews

Comments

CBSN Live

pop-out
Live Video

Watch CBSN Live

Watch CBS News anytime, anywhere with the new 24/7 digital news network. Stream CBSN live or on demand for FREE on your TV, computer, tablet, or smartphone.