Health  

Female Viagra finally given green light

 

Female viagra. Photo: empowernetwork

Female viagra. Photo: empowernetwork

*Drug boosts women’s sexual desire but experts warn of side-effects including fainting, fatigue

WOMEN could soon be prescribed a female version of Viagra after government experts recommended approval for a pill to boost sexual desire.

Experts in the United States (U.S.) have endorsed the drug, but noted it comes with a caveat – that the pharmaceutical company addresses safety concerns.

In the first approval of its kind, the panel of Food and Drug Administration (FDA) advisers voted 18-6 in favour of Sprout Pharmaceutical’s daily pill, flibanserin.

But they raised concerns over the drug’s side effects, which include fatigue, low blood pressure and fainting.

According to a report published in DailyMailOnline, as a condition of giving the drug the green light, the FDA panel said the company must develop a plan to manage its risks.

The recommendation has been hailed by some as a major victory for a drug dubbed ‘female Viagra’, but which has been plagued for years by concerns of lackluster effectiveness and safety issues.

The FDA has rejected the drug twice since 2010. And a similar panel of FDA experts voted unanimously against the drug five years ago.

Last week’s vote is non-binding but the FDA often follows the advice of its experts.

FDA experts acknowledged that flibanserin’s effect is not very strong, but said there is a need for approved drugs to address female sexual problems.

Studies have shown women taking flibanserin reported between 0.5 and one more sexually satisfying event each month, compared to those women taking a placebo.

They also scored higher on questionnaires measuring desire and scored lower on measures of stress.

Flibanserin, which acts on serotonin and other brain chemicals, was originally intended as an antidepressant – with studies to measure its effects.

HOW DOES ‘FEMALE VIAGRA’ DIFFER FROM THE MALE VERSION?
Male Viagra works by stimulating blood flow to the penis to help maintain an erection.
In contrast, ‘female Viagra’, or flibanserin acts in a similar way to antidepressants.

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