banner
Health Team

Triangle pharmaceutical company: 'Female Viagra' performs well in clinical tests

Posted September 10, 2014 8:18 a.m. EDT
Updated September 10, 2014 8:51 a.m. EDT

— When the Food and Drug Administration denied approval of Flibanserin last year, officials told Sprout Pharmaceuticals they wanted to see additional work on the drug that is designed to help treat female sexual dysfunction.

That work has continued in the form of clinical tests, and the Raleigh-based company will resubmit its request for approval in December with promising new results.

In recent tests, women on average doubled the number of satisfying sexual events and reported a 50 percent increase in sexual desire.

Amanda Parrish, a working mother of four, said she loved what the drug did for her. She said she felt a difference in less than a week.

"In the middle of the day, I could text Ben (her husband) for no apparent reason and start talking to him, and I would get that little flutter. I don't mean in my heart flutter," she said. "I would start getting aroused at noon, which that had never happened to me."

Sex therapist Laure Watson says renewed interest alone could do wonders for many relationships.

"Sex is something that binds us together. Literally oxytocin is released, and that's a bonding chemical," Watson said. "Without that, part of us that soothes and motivates us to forgive each other is gone.

Parrish agreed, saying her relationship with her husband improved.

"My relationship with my kids got better, I was not as irritable as I had been. I had the best sales year I've ever had in my career," she said.

If approved, Sprout's little pink pill will be the first on the market to treat female sexual dysfunction. Forty-three percent of women suffer from some kind of sexual dysfunction, and about 10 percent of those women suffer from hypo-active sexual desire disorder, or a lack of desire.

"It's a huge problem," Watson said of female sexual dysfunction. "Women don't have naturally occurring libido where they want it."

Flibanserin, which is non-hormonal, works on chemicals in the brain that impact sexual desire. Sprout officials said it could be on the market by the middle of 2015 if it gets a thumbs-up from the FDA.

About 15 percent of the women tested dropped out of clinical trials because of the drug's side effects, which include fatigue, nausea and dizziness.

Parrish, who said she didn't suffer any problems with side effects, said she'd buy the drug.

"In a heartbeat. I'm waiting for it to be approved. I would be the first one at the door," she said.

Capitol Broadcasting, parent company of WRAL, is an investor in Sprout Pharmaceuticals.