Low libido is the most common cause of sexual dysfunction in women, says Dr. John M. Thorp, a professor of obstetrics and gynecology at the University of North Carolina, ‘just as erectile dysfunction is the most common cause of sexual dysfunction in men.’ That’s why it’s good news that women may soon have their own ‘Viagra.’
Thorp’s research, in conjunction with Dr. Elaine Jolly, a professor of obstetrics and gynecology at the University of Ottawa, found that flibanserin, a drug made by a German company to treat depression, can boost sexual desire in women. Close to 4,000 American and Canadian premenopausal women took part in the research.
Low sex drive, or hypoactive sexual desire disorder, needs more attention, says Thorp. ‘It’s a huge group of people who have this problem.’ He says three to four out of 10 women between age 30 and 60 have diminished desire, and one out of 10 has had relationships negatively affected by their low libido.
Thorp and Jolly completed three clinical trials to test the efficacy, appropriate dosage and safety of flibanserin for thetreatment of low libido. Compared to a placebo, women taking 100 milligrams of the drug before bedtime for 24 weeks experienced increased sexual desire.
Testosterone is currently used to treat low sex drive in women, but its side effects include acne and facial hair. With flibanserin, ‘sleepiness is a big side effect,’ says Thorp. It will soon be tested on post-menopausal women.
‘Flibanserin has not yet been approved by Health Canada,’ says Jolly. ‘But these results are very encouraging.’
This article was originally titled "Coming soon: Medication to boost women’s sex drive," in the March/April 2010 issue of Best Health. Subscribe today to get the full Best Health experience’and never miss an issue!’and make sure to check out what’s new in the latest issue of Best Health.