Do Women Really Need A Libido-boost From A Female Viagra?

It’s called “Flibanserin” and it promises to take harried, tired, distracted women and supercharge their sex life like some libido-boosting female Viagra. (Watch!)

female viagra

I HAD no idea.

Apparently women need some sorta libido-boosting Viagra, or something like that, so says Sprout Pharmaceuticals. They’re the makers of the first “female Viagra”, a drug called Flibanserin.

Certainly, it’s been in the news of late, at least as reported by the National Post:

What’s all the fuss about?

Well, apparently, when women get stressed, harried, fatigued and just plumb uninspired, their sex drive abates.

Who woulda guessed?

Those gals need a drug for that, a few molecules of chemical love. After all, men have Viagra, Cialis and testosterone supplements on every grocery shelf.

Sounds like a void in the marketplace, and capitalism being what it is, there’s a new drug to fill it. Fibanserin is a drug designed to boost the low sexual desire of otherwise healthy women. Sprout is pushing hard to influence the Food and Drug Administration (“FDA”) to approve it, and they’re getting close to this goal. Recently, an advisory committee to the FDA voted to recommend that it approve the drug with some conditions sprinkled on top.

I wonder if this is a solution looking for a problem.

Sure, libido can wane as we get older, get stressed or simply have just had enough of it, strange as that may sound to citizens of a sex-hyped world. The issue can be physical, but as a specialist says in a video in Bridgid Schulte’s article, FDA panel recommends approval of ‘female Viagra’:

“For most common sexual problem for women is low desire, and that makes it complicated because desire is in our brains.”

Here’s the video… check out what all the fuss is about…

Flibanserin was first developed as an anti-depressant and works on neurotransmitters in the brain that affect sexual desire. I guess that makes some sense given that desire emanates in the brain. But do we really need a drug to seduce the brain to seduce us?

Here are three upsides to Flibanserin presented in the Washington Post article:

  1. It may improve Hypoactive Sexual Desire Disorder. Yeah, a new one for me, too, but it exists and some of the women who suffer from it say it’s like a switch had gone off — they don’t understand why they no longer want to have sex, and find it distressing.
  1. Many women are desperate for help. More than half the women diagnosed with low sexual desire have turned in desperation to unproven, unregulated and potentially unsafe treatments they read about on the Internet or in magazines, which could pose health risks, the pharmaceutical company presenters said. Some of those testifying were health-care practitioners who said many women have turned to such “snake oil” with dangerous results.
  1. Clinical trails show it works (kinda – see #2 below). Sprout Pharmaceuticals lauds a series of double-blind clinical trials that showed the drug worked better than placebo to boost women’s sexual desire, increased the number of sexually satisfying events, and lowered women’s distress at the loss of their libido. After 24 weeks, they said, 46 to 60% of the women in the trials had benefited from the Flibanserin treatment.

In their presentation, FDA medical officers outlined a host of safety concerns about the drug and raised the question of the day: Whether the risks of the side effects outweighed the benefit of the drug.

The upsides need to weighed in context with the downsides, as well as a completely different approach that I’ll present below.

The four downsides of Flibanserin:

  1. There are significant side effects. The FDA has twice rejected Flibanserin, saying the potential side effects of fainting, nausea, dizziness, sleepiness and low-blood pressure outweigh its benefits. Some women had to stop taking the drug because of the side effects, and one reacted so poorly that she had to be hospitalized.
  1. It helps very few who try it. Regarding those double-blind trails touted by Sprout: after adjusting the data to take the placebo effect into account, the drug helped only about 10% of the women in the trials.
  1. It doesn’t play nicely with other drugs. FDA officials are concerned about Flibanserin’s interaction with other drugs — particularly with hormonal birth control pills and alcohol — and the potential for Flibanserin to increase accidents, from car accidents to falls and other mishaps.
  1. It might aggravate tumors. Some FDA committee members are worried about one two-year cancer study that found an increased risk in breast cancer tumors in mice that were given four times the therapeutic dose of 100 milligrams of Flibanserin daily.

So, what do you think so far about Flibanserin?

Before you answer, consider an alternative approach that I mentioned. In short, the alternative is optimizing your hormones. My contention is that it’s a better approach than some female Viagra, because, well, woman are more complicated than the fellas.

For men with low libido, energy, mild depression and the like, the bromide is to boost their testosterone with, well, testosterone of the bio-identical variety administered by ointment, shot or pellets inserted under the skin… or with various herbal potions and the like that are designed to supercharge men’s own capacity to make sufficient testosterone to strut around like a peacock clucking any hen within pecking distance.

Alas, Flibanserin aside, women are more complicated. When it comes to augmenting sexual desire, you can’t just give them more estrogen or something like that (although, even though women need only about 10% of the testosterone that men do, many have less and can get a sexual recharge by increasing it). But if you take a multi-hormonal approach, the Golden Fleece may be yours.

To explain this approach, I defer to Nobel Laureate nominee and hormone expert, Dr. Richard Lippman, who in his article, How To Enhance Your Sex Life, made several suggestions for both men and women.

For women, he said,

“Bio-identical hormones are the only practical way to avoid stroke, blood clots, and cancer and to enhance one’s sex life. Women can achieve enhanced sex lives with a few simple bio-identical hormones as well as better diet and exercise.”

For men, he said,

“I suggest that most men over 50 take 50 to 75 mg daily of bio-identical T applied to the hairless areas of the shoulders or buttocks. Men should combine this with DIM or low-dose Arimidex® depending upon the level in their blood of the essential female hormone estradiol.”

OK, some explanation would be helpful.

There are many types of hormone amplifiers or the chemical equivalents that you could take. These roll off Dr. Lippman’s tongue as easily as a parent names her children.

What I want to do here is to give you an appreciation of the value of exploring with your doctor the benefits of testing your hormones to see if they’re optimized.

The objective is not necessarily to retrieve the hormone levels of your youth, but to get them to levels that make you feel as good as possible without doing harm.

What follows is a rundown of Dr. Lippman’s advice. It begins with diet and exercise, both of which he claims “are critical”.

 

Diet and exercise enhance sexuality

A key to healthy aging and a robust sex life is moderate exercise and avoiding fast-food restaurants and those that serve farm-hand portions, says Lippman. Moderate daily activity helps to manage weight, reduce stress, increase energy, boost the immune system, lower blood pressure and cholesterol, and enhance one’s sex life.

No news here, right?

Lucky for you that I have a six-part series on exercise, complete with video demonstrations. Begin with The Functionally Fit Fast Workout — Strong, Enduring, Mobile (Part I)

 

Supplements support a more active sex life

Lippman recommends the nutrient and amino acid arginine (Nitric-Pro™, Clavin-Ultra® and Neo40®) for enhancing sexual pleasure. Arginine increases the metabolism of the Krebs cycle (the central metabolic pathway in all aerobic organisms, like us) especially effective in the outer skin layers.

Since arginine increases skin metabolism, taking 500 mg when sexually active causes increased lustfulness and sensuality in women, especially if combined with four to seven mg daily of bio-identical testosterone cream applied to the labia. (Hey it beats drugs.)

If all that’s confusing, simplify by just taking oxytocin.

A natural alternative to those strange-sounding supplements is the bio-identical hormone oxytocin, the so-called love hormone. About ten units of oxytocin taken sublingually will enhance the sex lives of women and men, and also encourages people to become more sociable and willingly bond with others.

Now that we’ve simplified things, know that if you really want to do things right, you’ll make the above remedies more effective by correcting any imbalances you may have with your major hormones, such as estrogen, testosterone, growth hormone, cortisol, and thyroid.

High hormone levels help explain the inexplicable – how in the heck some young people can surf their couches in mindless potato chip frenzies yet remain relatively slim and trim (although probably with the so-called skinny-fat body composition). This is not the case when one skips into middle age, the place where hormones diminish rapidly.

Your biggest challenge isn’t cultivating a desire to test and improve your hormones, but to find a doctor that will agree and guide you to the Promised Land.

Unsurprisingly, most people seek help with their hormone levels by visiting their doctor, and the odds are that this person is not trained in the current methods of hormone-level correction. Hormone therapy and cutting-edge endocrinology are complex subjects, “equivalent to rocket science”, says Lippman, and require years of study.

Find a specialist. You can try the Yellow Pages, do a Google search for “hormone expert doctor” or “anti-aging endocrinologist” in your area (or just ask Suzanne Somers).

You can anticipate that a doctor trained in optimizing hormones will recognize the signs and symptoms of aging as related to diminished hormones, and prescribe various special nutrients and bio-identical hormones. Typically, you will be required to undergo a complete health evaluation, including blood, urine and perhaps saliva testing.

 

Your Takeaway

You can take a pill, a drug, and have a 10% chance of it working and some unknown chance for many unhappy side effects, or…

You can tune your diet, move your body regularly and find which of your hormones need to be pumped up a bit.

Dr. Lippman had quite a bit more to say on the subject, so if you’re still hungering for more, go read his article.  He also has a book, although that subtitle seems to countermand his article’s conviction that diet and exercise are “critical”.  Guess there’s wiggle room for potato crunching couch surfers.

Click the book and look inside

P.S. Men, if you insist on going it alone, check out some of my schemes for boosting testosterone, right here.

P.P.S. Women, check out:

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Joe Garma
 

I help people live with more vitality and strength. I'm a big believer in sustainability, and am a bit nutty about optimizing my diet, supplements, hormones and exercise. To get exclusive Updates, tips and be on your way to a stronger, more youthful body, join my weekly Newsletter. You can also find me on LinkedIn, Twitter and Instagram.

Click Here to Leave a Comment Below 2 comments
Angele - June 8, 2015

Women read about it because the stove needs to be preheated before the turkey is put in the oven. No pill can manage that.

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Joe Garma - June 8, 2015

Gobble, gooble. 😉

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