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FDA's 'Pink Viagra' to Boost Women's Libido Falls Short

FDA's 'Pink Viagra' to Boost Women's Libido Falls Short

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The little pink pill has finally been approved, but is it all it's cracked up to be?

A drug called Addyi that promisees to boost women’s libido won regulatory approval from the Food and Drug Administration on Tuesday. Addyi’s journey through the approval process has been long and, some say, fraught with gender discrimination. It is a victory for Sprout Pharmaceutical and also for several feminist groups who have been lobbying FDA to approve the pill.

Not every women’s group is happy with the decision. National Women’s Health Network and others did not join the lobbying efforts, “contending that waving the flag of gender bias would undermine what should be an impartial process based on science.” They believe the pills side effects—low blood pressure, fatigue, fainting, dizziness, nausea—outweigh the paltry benefit of the pill. A study of the pill found it gave women one more positive sexual experience per month than women taking a placebo.

The once-nightly drug comes with a lot of caveats. Most notably, it can’t be taken by those who drink alcohol. So, more than half of the adult population of America is now ruled out. Women are also advised to stop taking Addyi if they see no change after eight weeks. All in all, it doesn’t sound to me like a huge pharmaceutical breakthrough.

And yet, there will certainly be some societal benefits. With the advent of this pill, more women will talk with their doctors about their sexual problems, which will hopefully lead to the discovery of underlying causes. It might also give us an opportunity to see what a “women’s Viagra” commercial would look like. Although birth control pills could be marketed as a way for women to have sex for fun, they traditionally have not been. There is no application for a women’s libido pill other than to enable a woman to have more sex for fun, so the commercials should be fantastic when they are finally released (the CEO of Sprout has said they won’t be aired until 2017).

The pill—which I feel compelled to note is pink, by the way—is expected to be available starting October 17th. 

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Ellen Wall

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