Today, the FDA made history by approving the use of flibanserin to treat Hypoactive Sexual Desire Disorder (HSDD). Until now, there has not been an FDA approved medication to treat female sexual disorders.
“It’s an exciting time for women because we’re finally getting a true medical approach to addressing a major issue we have in sexual health,” says Peggy Francis, DNP, the Co-Director of the Urology San Antonio Center for Female Sexual Medicine. “Women’s sexuality is just as important as men’s sexuality, and now there’s enough research and science backing that up and we’re beginning to do something about it.”
Flibanserin works similarly to anti-depressant medication in that it affects the neurotransmitters of the brain that are generally associated with mood. It is very different from male sexual function medications, like Viagra, that target the function of the genitals.
“People are calling it female Viagra, but I think it’s a big mistake to equate flibanserin with Viagra,” says Francis. “Viagra works within 20-30 minutes of ingesting it and flibanserin doesn’t work that way – the mechanism of action is totally different and it can take a month or more to see changes. When you call it female Viagra or ‘the little pink pill’, patient and partner expectations can be unreasonable and negatively impact the very part of the relationship they were trying to improve.”
Francis also stresses that improving sexual desire in females is a complex process that involves many different factors including the strength of the relationship and the motivation behind seeking treatment. “This pill isn’t going to make you like your husband, and I’m afraid there may be some providers who aren’t taking the time to deal with all the nuances that go into properly treating HSDD.”