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NOT Viagra For Women

It's a female version of Viagra – or so they say. The trouble is, they're not accurate. However, there could be help on the way, in the form of a so-called "sex patch," for millions of women who lack sexual desire. The Early Show's Dr. Emily Senay reports.

The medication will actually increase a woman's interest in sex, she says. Viagra, on the other hand, does not improve a man's interest in sex; it improves his performance. So the two medications work in very different ways.

The new medication for women that is being reviewed by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is actually testosterone, which is generally perceived as the male hormone. But, explains Senay, women's bodies make a small amount of testosterone, and when it drops, women do experience a drop in sexual desire.

Not everyone is a candidate for the new medication. At the moment, it is for women who have had their ovaries removed. (In a woman's body, the ovary is where much of the testosterone is produced.) Already, there is the misconception that women who have had hysterectomies might be candidates for the medication, but that is not necessarily true, because some hysterectomies do not involve the ovaries.

Also, women who lack sexual desire because of psychological reasons will not find help with the new medication. "Women who have depression, for example, or other reasons for a poor sex life (like) poor communication in the relationship -- you cannot expect that this (medication) will improve those kind of situations."

In the study, participants used the patch for 24 weeks, replacing it twice a week, and in about half the cases, the women reported an improvement in many parameters, including sexual desire and sexual activity. If the patch is approved, it will be called Intrinsa.

The patch, reports Senay, is "very easy to use, slowly releasing the testosterone into the body." It takes several weeks before women feel an improvement.

The patch probably will be on the market by next spring, because it has been put on the fast track for approval by the FDA. As Senay reports, that's because "there is no medication on the market which fulfills this need for women with a sexual desire."

The second medication, LibiGel by Antares Pharma, will undergo expanded safety and effectiveness trials beginning next year.