From Hot To Cold: A Female Sex Drug Goes Limp

From Hot To Cold: A Female Sex Drug Goes Limp

December 19th, 2011 // 4:26 pm @

Yet another effort to bolster the female libido has failed. This time, BioSante Pharmaceuticals reports that its LibiGel form of testosterone failed two studies. Compared with placebo, women treated with LibiGel did not have more frequent sexual encounters or experience them more often, and they did not have a significantly greater increase in sexual desire.

BioSante attempted to spin the results by saying that “all results were in the appropriate direction,” since there was an increase in testosterone levels (see the results here). Nonetheless, the stock took a huge hit and analysts tell Bloomberg News that the future of the company, not just the experimental drug, is now an open question.

Meanwhile, the failure reiterates a vexing problem about using prescription meds to improve female sexual desire. Although LibiGel managed to bolster arousal, so did the placebo. Last year, Boehringer Ingelheim caused a fracas with a huge promotional push for a pill that many were calling a female Viagra. But an FDA panel nixed the prospect (read this) and the drugmaker discontinued development .

Of course, female sexual dysfunction is an issue, but some critics have also questioned the extent to which Hypoactive Sexual Desire Disorder – which both Boeheringer and BioSante have targeted – has been legitimatized in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (read this), and that drugmakers are attempting to unfairly exploit the problem.

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