Flibanserin: Female Libido Drug Brings Far More Pain Than Pleasure

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Since 2010, the American Food and Drug Administration (FDA) rejected this drug twice… and yet, recently an FDA committee made a U-turn and voted 18-6 in favour of approving Sprout Pharmaceutical’s daily pill flibanserin… also referred to as the “female Viagra” or the “little pink pill.”

Flibanserin’s approval – which will be sold under the brand name ADDYI – is pending on the condition that its manufacturer, Sprout Pharmaceuticals, develops a plan to limit safety risks… and those ‘safety risks’ are exactly why this new little pink pill is about to become a red hot mess for millions of women.

Not exactly a victory…

Sprout Pharmaceuticals and women’s groups have called flibanserin’s pending approval a win, saying that with male sex drugs like Viagra and Levitra on the market it’s about time the ladies got their turn.

But this ‘victory’ is not all it is cracked up to be… that’s because flibanserin is likely to fail nine out of 10 women who take it… and it may also leave a deadly wave of cancer in its wake.

In fact, in terms of safety and effectiveness, flibanserin has a failure rate that would rival just about any dud drug ever submitted to the FDA.

Flibanserin was first developed as an antidepressant several years ago, by Boehringer Ingelheim. But it didn’t work. So, after some experiments with mice, the drug maker decided… with much fanfare… to repackage flibanserin as a libido-boosting drug for women.

Only the drug failed in that department, too.

In clinical trials flibanserin only worked for about 10 per cent of the women who tried it, but 15 per cent had to quit because of side effects like nausea, dizziness, dangerously low blood pressure and fainting.

That’s right – flibanserin was actually proven more likely to cause side effects than give your sex drive a boost.

Worse still, an animal study linked flibanserin to breast tumours – the higher the dose, the more tumours researchers were finding. Flibanserin’s trial results were such a train wreck that the FDA initially said there was a “fundamental question” about whether the benefits of the drug outweighed the risks. That’s why the same FDA advisory panel that just approved flibanserin, overwhelmingly rejected it in 2010 and again in 2013.

Those rejections sparked a shameful PR campaign that used countless women as drug company guinea pigs.

Boehringer hired one of the most expensive marketing agencies to launch a campaign about how women are discriminated against when it comes to sexual dysfunction. They set about trying to convince women that the FDA was the modern-day equivalent of some women-hating boy’s club.

They invented sham women’s groups, hired celebrity spokespeople, and even funded their own television propaganda.

Boehringer paid for and supervised a phony documentary about female sexuality that aired three times in 2010.

When Boehringer sold the rights to flibanserin to Sprout Pharmaceuticals a few months later, things only got worse. Women were bused around the country to speak out for equal rights, as part of what one women’s health expert called a “slick pharmaceutical campaign masquerading as a grassroots feminist movement.”

There was a new website called “Your Voice, Your Wish” with videos and petitions. But that website wasn’t a voice for women – it was a mouthpiece for the drug maker, which plans to make billions selling flibanserin to every female consumer it can reach.

Of course, not every woman’s group was sold on flibanserin or the ridiculous argument that its approval was some battle of the sexes.

In a recent news article, Cindy Pearson, executive director of the National Women’s Health Network, couldn’t hide her disgust that the FDA advisory panel finally bowed to political pressure and gave flibanserin the go-ahead. She pointed out that the drug’s approval, which could come as early as August, could be a nightmare scenario for women.

That’s because Boehringer’s and Sprout’s slick marketing campaign hasn’t made the drug any more effective – and it can’t wash away flibanserin’s links to cancer and other debilitating side effects.

In its approval commentary, the FDA committee recommends that flibanserin only be prescribed to “women whose lack of sexual desire was not attributable to other causes such as disease or relationship troubles.”

Now, forgive me if I’m a bit off the mark here, but aren’t those two of the biggest reasons for lack of sexual desire in both women and men?…

Would anxiety count as an illness? What about stress, tiredness, hormones? How do you decide whether “relationship troubles” are a cause or an effect of a flagging libido?

I don’t know, everything about this drug sounds wrong. And trust me, I’m not some chauvinist who wants to prevent women from having a pleasant sexual experience.


Bear in mind all the material in this email alert is provided for information purposes only. We are not addressing anyone’s personal situation. Please consult with your own physician before acting on any recommendations contained herein.


Sources:

“FDA panel backs a ‘female Viagra'” Ed Silverman, June 4, 2015, The Wall Street Journal, wsj.com

“Astroturfers rule the day: FDA’s flibanserin reviewers were “emotionally blackmailed” by a slick lobbying campaign” Alan Cassels, June 5, 2015, Health News Review, healthnewsreview.org

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