If the Food and Drug Administration follows the recommendation of its advisory panel later this month, flibanserin — known as "female Viagra" — will be the first government-approved drug to address sexual dysfunction in premenopausal women. Dr. Linda D. Bradley, vice chair of obstetrics, gynecology and the Women's Health Institute at the Cleveland Clinic, turns us on to the new medication.
Take a daily dose. Unlike Viagra, the "pink pill" needs to be used every day. "Flibanserin affects the brain chemicals involved in desire," explains Bradley. The drug increases the effects of desire-enhancing chemicals such as dopamine and decreases inhibitors such as serotonin.
Watch out for side effects. The FDA advisory panel voted 18-6 to recommend approval of the drug but added there are side effects. "There might be a possible interaction when taken with alcohol, and some women who have taken the drug have reported dizziness and fainting," says Bradley.
We're just getting warmed up. Drug makers have been trying to get a female version on the market since the '90s. "By approving this drug, we will be opening a Pandora's box for newer and improved drugs that look at the libido issue for women," says Bradley.