What Are The Side Effects Of Female Viagra? This Is Why The Drug Hasn't Been Approved Yet

Gender equality can come in all shapes and sizes — even in the form of a pill. On Thursday, a Food and Drug Administration advisory panel voted to recommend the federal agency approve the drug flibanserin, a sort of "female Viagra," which would help boost women's low sexual desires. Viagra for men was approved in 1998, but questions over its impact on women have prompted the FDA to reject flibanserin twice before. So what are the effects of female Viagra? UPDATE: On August 18th, the FDA officially approved flibanserin, the "female Viagra," which will be known as Addyi and will be in pharmacies as early as October 17.

The most common side effects shown in clinical trials included nausea, dizziness, and sleepiness. According to The Washington Post, a few women had to stop taking the drug because the side effects became too overwhelming, and one woman had to be hospitalized. If you ask me, flibanserin's side effects sound like every other drug's, but in this case, they were enough for the FDA to previously say the cons could outweigh the pros. Even now, the FDA committee, which voted 18-6 Thursday to recommend the drug, said the benefits would be "moderate" or "marginal" at best.

Though rare, fainting and low-blood pressure were also side effects, raising some serious concerns over whether the presence of flibanserin could lead to accidents that may injure a woman or others. FDA officials were also worried about how flibanserin could interact with other drugs — specifically birth control pills and alcohol — and whether the drug could be linked to an increased risk of breast cancer.

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But despite these concerns, flibanserin's third appearance before the FDA was profoundly more successful than its earlier attempts, largely due to the emotional testimony of women who suffered from Hypoactive Sexual Desire Disorder, which could affect up to one in three adult U.S. women, according to a 2002 study. ABC News reported more than 50 million women experience some level of sexual dysfunction.

While flibanserin might not be the end-all solution, at least the drug could provide some relief to women and their sex lives, and that's a side effect that could be well worth the others. A recent Northwestern University study showed how Sildenafil, or male Viagra, worked for post-menopausal or post-hysterectomy women who complained of low sexual desire. The study found these women's sex lives greatly improved after taking Viagra, which included better arousal, lubrication, and orgasm. The FDA is expected to make its final decision by the end of summer.

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