Flibanserin, originally an anti-depressant, has shown promise in treating low libido among women, according to results from three separate clinical trials.
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, professor of obstetrics and gynaecology, University of North Carolina (UNC). Results show that treatment with 100 mg of flibanserin once daily boosts the number of satisfying sexual events (SSE), sexual desire and sexual functioning.
"Flibanserin was a poor anti-depressant," Thorp, also the principal study investigator said. "However, astute observers noted that it increased libido in lab 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," said Thorp. "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 added.
Studies have shown that the prevalence of hypoactive (inactive) sexual desire disorder in the US ranges between nine percent and 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, said a UNC release. Elaine E. Jolly, professor at the University of Ottawa, Thorp and colleagues, pooled data from three clinical trials of flibanserin conducted in the US, Canada and Europe.
A total of 1,946 pre-menopausal women aged 18 and older were randomised to receive either flibanserin or placebo for 24 weeks, with four weeks of pre-treatment and four weeks of post-treatment follow-up.