After three separate clinical trials, University of North Carolina (UNC) researchers say a drug (flibanserin) originally created as an antidepressant is effective at treating with acquired hypoactive sexual desire disorder.
The 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 UNC's John M. Thorp Jr., the principal investigator for North America in the studies. The results reported yesterday at the Congress of the European Society for Sexual Medicine in Lyon, France.
"Flibanserin was a poor antidepressant," Thorp explained. "However, astute observers noted that it increased libido in laboratory 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. It's essentially a Viagra-like drug for women in that diminished desire or libido is the most common feminine sexual problem."
The trials measured changes from baseline on the following variables as reported by the women each week: number of satisfying sexual events, desire score, female sexual function index, female sexual distress and desire/libido.
The researchers say that treatment with 100 milligrams of flibanserin once a day was associated with significant improvements in the number of satisfying sexual events reported, sexual desire and a reduction in distress associated with sexual dysfunction.
"These results point to a novel approach to pharmacologic treatment of the sexual problem that plagues reproductive age women the most, and may over time prove to be an effective treatment without the side effects of androgen replacement therapy, which is the only treatment currently available," Thorp said. Flibanserin is currently only available to women taking part in clinical trials.