Flibanserin folly or real female benefit for decreased sexual desire?

Flibanserin (Fluh BAN ser ihn) for female sexual desirehas been a controversial medicine, possibly because of the way it works (increasing blood flow to the genitals), but more broadly, because of the condition (hypoactive sexual desire disorder- HSDD) that the medicine might treat. Controversy surrounds HSDD and if it is a made up problem to sell medicines or if it is something that is a real problem which a significant number of women face.

Today, however is the day when the expert panel is meeting to take a very close and considered look at flibanserin (tentatively called Girosa). Is this a female Viagra? Should we care? History tells us that HSDD has been recognized as a problem for 7  to 30% of women for about 40 years.

The drug works on three chemicals known as neurotransmitters. Dopamine, serotonin and norepinephrine affect the brain's reward center and ability to feel pleasure in a way that researchers admitted to the meeting they don't fully understand. Side effects include sleepiness, fainting and fatigue, but these issues can be dealt with by taking the pill at bedtime.

It will be interesting to see how the panel votes today and if they recommend the medicine, if the FDA will follow the panel advice and approve it. I'll include data on this medicine in the upcoming Essential Guide to Prescription Drugs and may create a stand alone eBook if there is enough demand.

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