Female Viagra Has a New Pathway to FDA Approval, Hooray!

Good news could be on the horizon for ladies with low libido. The Food and Drug Administration has opened up a new pathway to approval for female Viagra. After surveying the thousands of products, pills, and pumps that are on the market to help men maintain their erections until well into their 90s, it's almost shocking that it has taken the pharmaceutical industry this long to come up with a drug that's for the girls.

The FDA previously denied approval of a new drug that would treat hypoactive sexual desire disorder in women, but today there is renewed hope that the drug could be on its way to being approved. According to Reuters, the FDA told Sprout Pharmaceuticals, the manufacturer of the drug, that it would reconsider approval if the company conducts more research. The drug, called filbanserin, acts on chemicals in the brain to increase sexual desire by affecting impulses for appetite and mood. The FDA denied a previous request for approval of the drug last year, citing "modest" benefits that didn't outweigh the side effects of the drug.

The FDA recommended 3 additional tests — two to determine how the drug interacts with other medications, and another to determine whether or not flibanserin affects the ability to drive. Sprout Pharmaceuticals President and Chief Operating Officer Cindy Whitehead said in a statement that the company is "encouraged by the FDA’s response and views it as a significant step toward the approval of flibanserin.”

While the company may be optimistic, women's groups contend that the FDA is holding up the approval process for flibanserin. Eight advocacy groups, including the National Organization for Women and the Center for Health and Gender Equity, met with the FDA to express concerns that the drug is being held to much higher standards than drugs that treat male sexual dysfunction.

"We see this not only as an important unmet women's health issue, but an inflection point for the agency to ensure that similar standards are applied for drug approvals in conditions uniquely affecting women," the group wrote in a letter sent to the FDA on January 30.

These crazy feminists might be on to something. Flibanserin is the pharmaceutical industry's mosts successful attempt at FDA approval for a drug that treats female sexual dysfunction, something that millions of women deal with each year. A 2006 study estimated that close to 40 percent of women experience low libido, and that most are left without any options for treatment. There are herbal remedies and supplements on the market that may improve low libido, but the FDA has approved zero drugs for treating the disorder.

The FDA has an obligation to ensure that the drugs it approves are safe for the public to consume, but it also shouldn't continue to drag its feet on treating female sexual dysfunction. If flibanserin is safe and effective, it could bring long, happy sex lives for women and their partners.

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