search
top

The Search for the Elusive Pink Viagra

Smelling an unprecedented aroma of profit, pharmaceutical companies the world over have been trying (and giving up) for years to bottle the secret of female sexual dysfunction, a.k.a. the pill that will do for the ladies what Viagra does for the men.

Even before Viagra hit the shelves and overwhelmed the internet, when this revolutionary male erectile drug was in development and showing great promise, the drug companies started thinking ahead to the next great frontier – female sexuality.

The study that everybody loves to quote when it comes to the need for sexual healing comes from a certain Prof. Edward Laumann of the University of Chicago in 1999. He set out to identify the real numbers of people who were having sexual problems of all sorts, and produced the numbers 31% for men and 43% for women, statistics that had everybody scrambling for ways to intervene.

Sure, there were a few feminists who shouted “Woa!”; they questioned the definition of sexual dysfunction in females and wondered if low sexual desire should be pathologised or perhaps it is simply a symptom of women being overworked, under-appreciated and expected to be sexually responsive to viagra-popping men who aren’t necessarily contributing anything new to igniting their sexual desire. But party-poopers aside, when Viagra actually emerged and turned out to be a recreational drug as well as a therapeutic one, meaning men without erection problems were taking it so that could get harder, and stay longer without the limitations of nature, Pfizer and other mother-ships of sexual medication raised their crystal glasses even higher. Enter Cialis, Levitra and a hundred “natural” versions of this hot new club. Now how tough could it be to get the little blue pill approved for all those women?

Well, Pfizer Pharmaceuticals, the mother of Viagra, invested 8 years and many millions and threw in the towel in 2004. It is difficult to say how many more billions have gone into other potential drugs, but it seemed as if everyone was keen on doing it at some point. Alas, even though there were, and still are, some doctors who prescribe Viagra to women, and who can show reports of patients who enjoyed vaginal engorgement and heavy lubrication, and this helped their sexual difficulties, this does not make it a viable drug. You see, in order to pass the FDA authorization for a new medication, a developer has to show (among other things) that the new drug works better than a placebo and that it provides benefit without doing enough harm to overshadow its gain.

The issue of dysfunction in men circled around erection issues. Viagra opens up the genital blood vessels and more blood streams in. Boom! Sure, desire is an issue in male sexual functioning, but the strength of the erection and the physical ability to perform has proven to provide high satisfaction levels among its users. Side-effects, sure, there are heart problems, hearing problems and vision problems to name, but the cost-benefit ratio seemed to run in favour of the men with the hard penises.

With female sexuality, vaginal engorgement and lubrication are part of the story, but the much more urgent and common problem is with desire. These women just aren’t feeling turned on, like they were for example, when they were first in love, being charmed, feeling sexy and desired. Women can be sexual predators who seek out passion and pleasure without commitment, but it is also true that women tend to let their psychological state weigh majorly on how interested they are in sex and how much they are able to enjoy it. In short, no drugs developed so far have managed to induce a state of desire medically. Some things just take a bit of work: doing the dishes, inviting her out or having that desired conversation can stream the blood and the endorphins better than any pill. The drug companies still haven’t figured out how replicate an enthusiastic, egalitarian male in capsular form. Apparently it isn’t as simple as tinting Viagra in pink.

The latest member of the failed pink Viagra club is flibanserin, a drug which was being developed by the German pharmaceutical, Boehringer Ingelheim. Its the first time that there has been a major contender for FDA approval for female sexual dysfunction, in this case the drug targeted hypoactive (low) sexual desire. But this drug, like its potential clientele, is not as simple as the boys’ version: it was not merely to be popped on demand, but needed to be taken daily and even then the increase in satisfaction was arguably minimal. What was not minimal were the side effects – drowsiness, dizziness, nausea, anxiety and fatigue. So much for “not tonight, honey, I have a headache”.

Needless to say, after a great deal of discussion and debate, flibanserin was shot down by the FDA in July 2010 and buried in October 2010. Has the time not come to cease searching for quick fixes and tips to release women’s sexual drive and orgasmic potential? Maybe we need a new group of experts, more of the type that talk, ask questions and look into the state of one’s relationship and fewer of the guys in lab coats.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

*

* Copy This Password *

* Type Or Paste Password Here *

16,414 Spam Comments Blocked so far by Spam Free Wordpress

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>

top