Could a Pill Offer Some Relief to Women Suffering from an ‘Archipelago of Regret’?

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While the FDA is determining whether to approve Boehringer Ingelheim’s flibanserin, a pill targeting hypoactive sexual desire disease (HSDD) in women, The New York Times questions whether such a condition only exists as a fabrication by the pharmaceutical industry. NYU psychologist Dr. Leonore Tiefer tells the paper she believes in the validity of HSDD, but worries that the pill would give women with non-HSDD related sexual dissatisfaction false hopes.  She describes the sex lives of women who suffer from HSDD as “a struggle, a disappointment, an archipelago of regret. Is there a small group of women who could benefit from medical intervention — probably.” Currently, studies offer conflicting results regarding the effectiveness of the drug and report side effects of fatigue, nausea, dizziness, and insomnia.

Fearing the FDA may not approve the drug, ACSH’s Jeff Stier asserts, “If some women will benefit, the decision to prescribe it should be made after a thorough discussion of the possible benefits and risks between the doctor and the patient.  The doctor can monitor the patient and determine if the side effects outweigh the benefits.  It shouldn’t be over-the-counter, but if some women, even a minority, can benefit, then why not approve it as a prescription drug and not have the decision made by the FDA?”

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