Flibanserin is no female Viagra

Flibanserin structureAlthough it’s been described as one for the ladies, German pharmaceutical company Boehringer Ingelheim’s failed antidepressant is not the pink pill that women with low libido have been waiting for, at least that is if you look at the statistics.

Last week, The Guardian was just one of thousands of news outlets to hype the drug, flibanserin, as a female Viagra ready to satisfy women the world over.

According to that report, a daily 100mg dose of the drug apparently boosted the amount of satisfying sex participants in the trial had each month. Numbers rose from 2.8 satisfying sexual events on average per month to 4.5 times. However, those in the trial (which was for its antidepressant properties, remember) saw their orgasm count rise to 3.7 times a month.

Now, there are several points one might raise. 2.8 a month is certainly not a lot of sex, but the fact that the women in the trial were testing an experimental antidepressant would suggest that they were depressed, and depression certainly screws up your serotonin levels, which are linked to sex drive and sexual latency (the minimum theoretical time period between orgasms).

Moreover, smooth out those significant figures and what the trials shows that the women were having about 3 sexual events each month without the drug and that this number went up to 4 or 5 once they were taking flibanserin. Those given a placebo went from about 3 to about 4. Give or take an orgasm or two, that’s not really a big difference. And, when they say size doesn’t matter, they’re not referring to standard deviations, are they.

Viagra for men addresses a physiological condition, erectile dysfunction, caused by a physical problem. It does not affect libido except that perhaps taking it turns a man’s mind on sex. Flibanserin though, if it does anything at all, is presumably interfering with brain chemistry. Of course, that’s what it was designed to do as an antidepressant, but one has to wonder whether there aren’t more subtle ways to get the chemistry to work in a relationship than popping pills, especially when its chemical name is such a mouthful: 3-[2-[4-[3-(trifluoromethyl)phenyl]piperazin-1-yl]ethyl]-1H-benzi?midazol-2-one

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