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Something Like Viagra for Women

Posted 6/3/2015

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  This does not have anything specifically to do with cancer, but it certainly is related to yesterday's blog as well as many other similar conversations about sexuality. The context is that many women during and after cancer treatment experience reduced (or, some would say, absent) libido and responsiveness. We know that this is a common problem for both men and women as they age, and cancer treatment can surely speed up physical aging in lots of ways.

  Viagra has been around for a long time now, and many men--those who have had cancer as well as those who have not--find it very helpful. For men who lose the capacity to have an erection due to surgery (e.g. prostate cancer surgery), there are also several devices that can be implanted to solve the problem. No sure tools have been available for women.

  Now there is a push for FDA approval for a drug, fibanserin, that may be a "female Viagra". This is the third attempt to achieve FDA approval; it has been denied in the past due to less that terrific evidence of effectiveness and side effects of nausea, dizziness, and sleepiness for some users. Clearly, this is not going to be a panacea or a magic bullet if approval is achieved, but it might, just might, help some women.

  Here is an article from The New York Times; Per usual, I give you the beginning and a link:

Viagra for Women’ Gets Push for F.D.A. Approval
By ANDREW POLLACK MAY 31, 2015
Is sexual desire a human right? And are women entitled to a little pink pill to help them feel it?
Those questions are being raised in a campaign that is pressing the Food and Drug Administration to approve a pill aimed at restoring lost libido in women. The campaign, backed by the drug’s developer and some women’s groups, accuses the F.D.A. of gender bias for approving Viagra and 25
other drugs to help men have sex, but none for women.
“Women have waited long enough,” the effort, known as Even the Score, says in an online petition that has gathered more than 40,000 signatures. “In 2015, gender equality should be the standard when it comes to access to treatments for sexual dysfunction.”
The drug, flibanserin, has been rejected twice by the F.D.A. on the grounds that its very modest effectiveness was outweighed by side effects like sleepiness, dizziness and nausea. The first rejection, in 2010, followed a decision by a committee of outside advisers to the agency who unanimously
opposed approval.
On Thursday, F.D.A. advisers will once again consider whether flibanserin should be approved.

http://www.nytimes.com/2015/06/01/business/groups-press-fda-to-approve-womens-viagra.html

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