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Posts Tagged ‘flibanserin’

One of this week’s major news items in the world of pharma is the less-than-enthusiastic response of an FDA panel to Boehringer-Ingelheim’s experimental “sexual desire for women” pill, flibanserin.

I believe the quest for a “female Viagra” (an inaccurate parallel, by the way) is fundamentally misguided. Here’s why:

There’s a big difference between sexual function and sexual desire. Viagra does something that a pill can, in fact, do – impacts a physiological process. Erectile dysfunction is, in some cases, a medical problem that can be addressed with a medical solution.

But sex is not purely physical. And sexual desire is not some abstraction or isolated function that can be fixed by some sort of medical booster.

Yes, our bodies age and the physiological aspects of libido may be impacted. I’m not denying that. But can any pill really deal with the many elements that make up sexual desire, including:

– a loving relationship

– a climate of trust and freedom

– confidence and a sense of self-esteem

– personal attractiveness (and attracted-to-ness) on multiple levels

– hormonal fluctuations/levels

– physical function that allows fulfilling intercourse

And, in fact, are we even addressing the right question anyway with these proposed treatments? Should our focus be on creating/boosting a physiological desire for sex, or on making better relationships? Physiological aspects are a component of sexual desire…but are we going to keep medicalizing some things that are, to a large extent, simply part of a normal aging process?

I realize that there’s no money to be made by drug companies on the latter, but frankly, I’m forced to conclude that the whole exercise is a futile pursuit of profit at the expense of a healthier focus on the better relationships that will lead to better sex.

A pill is not a substitute for the genuine work of nurturing one’s mate so that a steady desire to please and be one with each other is a natural outgrowth. Viagra can make some things grow that forgot how. But I seriously doubt that any female Viagra will grow something as multi-faceted as sexual desire. Let’s go about curing real diseases.

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TODAY’S NEWS

Sometimes I can’t help but voice a bit of skepticism, especially when it comes to sexual disorder treatments. So, count me as less than convinced about this experimental treatment from Boehringer-IngelheimData from pivotal Phase III clinical trials demonstrate that a higher proportion of pre-menopausal women with Hypoactive Sexual Desire Disorder (HSDD) receiving flibanserin 100mg reported both an improvement in their condition and a meaningful benefit from their treatment, compared to placebomore (the single-question Patient Benefit Evaluation appears to me to be really…ummm…meaningful).

Lung cancer preventer for former smokers? Interesting – A drug approved to treat a range of conditions may also work to prevent lung cancer in people who have given up smoking, U.S. researchers reported on Tuesdaymore

AstraZeneca replaces Nexium sales force with telemarketers. And it works.

J&J‘s recall of OTC products. This is becoming a huge black eye, for a company that managed to keep quite a good reputation over the years. It will be an interesting case study of reputation management and quality improvement, esp. for a company that has been a leader in social media usage in this sector.

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Red Meat – maybe this picture isn’t so simple after all. Intuitively, this result is actually not too surprising. AND – Are you in a Museum?

JUST FOR FUN

I only rarely get to see hailstorms. That’s what makes this video particularly awesome. Must be seen to be believed!

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Whew! The back-to-back conference marathon is now over, and we can get back to our regular pharma news reporting. Here’s what’s up today…

TODAY’S NEWS

Everyone’s talking about the Zetia/Niaspan study – its results, its significance, its limitations. Bottom line – I can’t see how this can be good for Merck. More here. And Jim Edwards analyzes the damage control spin effort here.

Always a headline topic: female sexual desire treatments. The more you read about this drug (experimental ‘flibanserin’ from Boehringer-Ingelheim), however, the more you wonder if the purported effect will be worth the expense and the side effects.

BMS pushing Mead-Johnson out of the nest. It is amazing to me how drug companies cycle through periods where they diversify, then spin divisions off…

Novartis: half a dose of H1N1 vaccine may be enough. Now that’s how to increase vaccine supply!

If you’re going to blow the whistle, I guess it’s important to get on to the field of play! Whistleblower lawsuit against J&J dismissed.

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Is this drug a frog, or a prince? I dunno, but I like the picture…!

JUST FOR FUN

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