Ms. Magazine has a new blog post about the drug Flibanserin, which is touted as the female Viagra. The post brings up some interesting points about the psychosocial issues surrounding female sexuality and encourages the FDA to reject the drug. Rather than treat low female libido with pharmaceuticals, the article encourages the government to increase their commitment to sexual education.
While I agree that it is necessary to address the cultural pressures on women, it is also important to help women with medical arousal problems. Some of these problems are actually caused by other pharmaceuticals. The birth control pill, itself, comes with a significant side effect. In exchange for reproductive freedom, many women on the pill experience problems with sexual arousal and climax.
Flibanserin is a mix of two drugs that affect the neurotransmitter serotonin. It is an agonist, or activator, of the serotonin receptor called 5-HT1A, and an antagonist, or inhibitor, of the 5-HT2A serotonin receptor. In clinical trials, the drug only moderately improved sexual function but the side effects didn’t seem that severe either. They included dizziness, nausea, fatigue, and insomnia, which seem to be on all drug labels these days. Given all this information, should the drug be on the market? Give the FDA a chance to decide.