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Viagra for women? Drug developed as antidepressant effective in treating low libido
Date:11/16/2009

CHAPEL HILL The drug flibanserin, which was originally created as an antidepressant, is effective in treating women with low libido, pooled results from three separate clinical trials have found.

These trials were the first ever to test a therapy that works at the level of the brain to enhance libido in women reporting low sexual desire, said John M. Thorp Jr., M.D., McAllister distinguished professor of obstetrics and gynecology at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Medicine and the principal investigator for North America in the studies.

"Flibanserin was a poor antidepressant," Thorp said. "However, astute observers noted that it increased libido in laboratory animals and human subjects. So, we conducted multiple clinical trials and the women in our studies who took it for hypoactive sexual desire disorder reported significant improvements in sexual desire and satisfactory sexual experiences.

"It's essentially a Viagra-like drug for women in that diminished desire or libido is the most common feminine sexual problem, like erectile dysfunction is in men," Thorp said.

Studies have shown that the prevalence of hypoactive sexual desire disorder in the U.S. ranges from 9 percent to 26 percent of women, depending on age and menopausal status. Flibanserin is currently an investigational drug and is available only to women taking part in clinical trials.

The results reported here were presented Monday, Nov. 16, at the Congress of the European Society for Sexual Medicine in Lyon, France. The presentation was given by Elaine E. Jolly, M.D., overall principal investigator and a professor at the University of Ottawa in Canada.

Jolly, Thorp and colleagues pooled data from four clinical trials of flibanserin conducted in the U.S., Canada and Europe. A total of 1,946 pre-menopausal women ages 18 and older were randomized to receive either flibanserin or placebo for 24 weeks, with 4 weeks of pre-
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Contact: Tom Hughes
tahughes@unch.unc.edu
919-966-6047
University of North Carolina School of Medicine
Source:Eurekalert  

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