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'Female Viagra' Awaits Final FDA Approval

An advisory panel for the Food and Drug Administration recently approved a little pink pill that promises to boost otherwise healthy women's low sex drive. Flibanserin, the so-called "Viagra for women," must clear one final hurdle: approval by the FDA.

Flibanserin has already been rejected twice by the panel, but this latest round was boosted by advocacy from some women's organizations who claimed pharmaceutical companies have ignored women's sex lives and desire, while focusing on Viagra-like drugs that focus on improving and preserving men's active sex lives.

RELATED: The Viagra for Women Pitch Has It All Wrong

The cleverly named "Even the Score" campaign fought hard on behalf of the Sprout Pharmaceuticals, the developer of flibanserin, despite the drug's mediocre results—the FDA called them "numerically small but statistically significant," according to the New York Times. In clinical trials, women who took the desire-boosting pill reported have just one more "sexually satisfying event" per month than the women who got a placebo. Those taking the drug also reported feeling a tiny bit more desire each month than the other group.

But even a little more is better than nothing, the drug's makers and its supporters argued.

Side effects of the drug for the healthy women in the trial included low blood pressure and fainting. One woman in the study even got a concussion after falling while fainting. Of concern to the drug's detractors and the six members on the 18-member committee is that the trials were only conducted on healthy women, even though the likelihood that it will be prescribed to less healthy women is likely.

A final decision on approval is expected from the FDA on Aug. 18.

Image via Twenty20

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