Local News

Raleigh-based company seeking FDA approval for 'female Viagra'

Posted September 9, 2014

Map Marker  Find News Near Me

— More than 20 drugs are available to treat male sexual dysfunction, but never before has there been a pill for women.

Sprout, a Raleigh-based pharmaceutical company, is hoping its little pink pill will be the first.

Forty-three percent of women suffer from some kind sexual dysfunction, with many suffering low desire. The biggest culprit is hypo-active sexual desire disorder.

Sexual stimulation deactivates parts of the brain involved with information analysis, or the day-to-day tasks, to allow women to focus on the sexual experience. Women with HSSD can’t shut down the daily distractions.

Enter Flibanserin, the little pink pill that has shown promising results in tests.

“It works on key chemicals in the brain to increase desire and decrease the stress,” Cindy Whitehead, chief operating officer of Sprout, said. “(Women) want to want. They had a desire before, and they lost that, and it’s really causing profound stress either for them personally or in their relationship dynamic.”

Sprout purchased the rights to Flibanserin three years ago and has been working since then to get it approved by the Food and Drug Administration.

On average, women in clinical trials doubled the number of satisfying sexual events and reported a 50 percent increase in sexual desire.

The FDA denied approval of the drug last year, saying it wanted to see additional work. Several prominent women’s groups and Congressmen, including Rep. David Price, of North Carolina’s 4th District, responded by writing letters to the FDA in support of the drug.

Price says the FDA needs to approve Flibanserin.

“I don’t know what reason there could possibly be for treating male sexual dysfunction and not female sexual dysfunction, assuming that we have a medication here that is safe,” Price said.

Sprout is appealing the FDA’s ruling, and the company is finishing two studies focused on drug interactions and side effects. The most common side effects are fatigue, nausea and dizziness.

Sprout will resubmit for approval in December. If the FDA gives the company the go-ahead, the drug could be ready for the public by the middle of 2015. Capitol Broadcasting, parent company of WRAL, is an investor in Sprout Pharmaceuticals.

“Hopefully, if we’re able to do that, we break down a barrier and a variety of treatment options come forth, because women deserve those as well,” Whitehead said.

38 Comments

This story is closed for comments.

Oldest First
View all
  • JustOneGodLessThanU Sep 10, 2014

    View quoted thread


    Are you saying that this makes you "sick" because they should only pay for men's sexual dysfunction drugs?...as they are doing now? Is it the possible *fairness* in all of this that bothers you?

  • Bill Brasky Sep 9, 2014

    For a second I thought the drug was called spout

  • jmoxley2010 Sep 9, 2014

    This story has aroused my attention.

  • JustOneGodLessThanU Sep 9, 2014

    Since this benefits women, the male "less government" Congress will ban it.

    Oh, wait. It might actually benefit the males...so, they'll let the women have this one. This one only...just don't think you're getting anything else, ladies...

    (condescending sarcasm designed to show how some men think of women & how they use laws to maintain gender disparity)

  • Confucius say Sep 9, 2014

    My future retirement years are looking better all the time!

  • Erica Konopka Sep 9, 2014
    user avatar

    "Sexual stimulation deactivates parts of the brain involved with information analysis, or the day-to-day tasks, to allow women to focus on the sexual experience. Women with HSSD can’t shut down the daily distractions."

    I had no idea this was a documented disorder. This is good to know. I wonder what causes this disorder. I thought it just came along with being a working professional/mom/chef/maid/accountant/etc. Thank you WRAL for bringing this to light.

  • Erica Konopka Sep 9, 2014
    user avatar

    The comments here are sickening. It's about time women's sexual dysfunction gets some attention. Did it ever occur to any of you that there ARE indeed women out there that deeply miss their own sexual prowess of years past? It really stinks to miss sex and have no desire for it at the same time, especially when you've got a great relationship with your spouse and the issue is 100% hormonal/medical and 0% to do with relationship problems.

  • CNWBT Sep 9, 2014

    It figures we can give men 26 options and keeping women from having a single one under the guise of "protecting them" -- not right.

  • tnjed Sep 9, 2014

    View quoted thread


    Don't you think it's odd that this excuse is only used by women?

  • ashewing Sep 9, 2014

    I definitley think something of this nature is warranted (after all guys have had thier little blue pill for some time now); but it sounds to work very similar to the way Ectasy affects the brain.

More...