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Science

Does 'Viagra for women' have any effect?

A recent study questions whether the psychopharmaceutical drug Flibanserin, introduced in the US in August last year, has any significant effect on the libido of women. Well, does it?

The drug Flibanserin - commonly known as "Viagra for women" - may be considerably less effective than previously assumed. And on top of that - it can have serious side effects.

This is according to a meta-analysis conducted by medical researchers in Rotterdam and Brussels and institutes in Gouda and Amsterdam. The researchers published their findings in JAMA Internal Medicine on February 29, 2016.

With regard to its medical function, Flibanserin should not be compared to real Viagra at all. It is a pharmaceutical drug, not a substance to increase blood circulation. Since August 2015, it has been licensed in the US as a prescription drug to treat "hypoactive sexual desire disorder" (HSDD) and may only be prescribed to women before menopause. In the EU, the substance has not been licensed.

Just above the mark

The Belgian-Dutch study analyzed comparative data from five studies that have been published separately and from three studies yet to be released. In total, they included data from 5,914 women.

The study showed that on average only every second woman who took the drug experienced a "satisfying sexual event" - once a month. From a quantitative perspective, the efficacy of the drug was 0.5 - only once a month.

This value, according to the study, is only marginally above the threshold for a medically measurable result. On the other hand, Flibanserin carries a considerable risk of side effects, including dizziness, fatigue and nausea.

The doctors concluded that the substance should not be recommended within the guidelines of professional medical organizations.

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