MONDAY, Nov. 16 (HealthDay News) -- New industry-funded research suggests that the antidepressant flibanserin, which has been touted as a female version of Viagra, can enhance libido in women with low sex drives.
The research compiles the results of several trials, the first to test a treatment for low libido in women that works on the brain, lead investigator Dr. John M. Thorp Jr., a professor of obstetrics and gynecology at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Medicine, said in a university news release.
"Flibanserin was a poor antidepressant," Thorp said. "However, astute observers noted that it increased libido in laboratory animals and human subjects. So, we conducted multiple clinical trials, and the women in our studies who took it for hypoactive sexual desire disorder reported significant improvements in sexual desire and satisfactory sexual experiences."
Research suggests that 9 percent to 26 percent of women in the United States suffer from low sex drive, with the numbers varying depending on age and whether they`ve reached menopause.
The findings were to be presented Monday at the Congress of the European Society for Sexual Medicine in Lyon, France.
The researchers combined statistics from three trials of flibanserin, which together included 1,946 premenopausal women who took either the drug or a placebo for about six months.
Daily doses of 100 milligrams significantly improved symptoms, the researchers found.
Boehringer Ingelheim, which makes flibanserin, funded the research.
The American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists has more on women`s sexuality and sexual problems.
SOURCE: University of North Carolina School of Medicine, news release, Nov. 16, 2009