The less-than sexily named flibanserin, sometimes called the “female version of Viagra,” may finally get FDA approval this week. The pill, which targets lost libido in women, has been twice rejected.
Creating a “female version of Viagra” is way harder than it might seem. Viagra works on the arteries, causing physical shifts that result in erection. Historically, disorders of women’s sexual desire haven’t responded to drugs that act on hormones or blood flow; unlike Viagra, a female-desire drug would need to make adjustments in the primal and executive regions in the brain, tapping into the psyche.