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FDA approves drug to restore sexual desire for women

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved a drug Friday to restore sexual desire for premenopausal women who suffer from hypoactive sexual desire disorder.

The therapy, Vyleesi, can be injected under the skin of the abdomen or thigh at least 45 minutes before anticipated sexual activity and activates pathways in the brain involved in sexual desire. It is the latest attempt to find what some have said would be the equivalent of men’s Viagra.

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“There are women who, for no known reason, have reduced sexual desire that causes marked distress, and who can benefit from safe and effective pharmacologic treatment. Today’s approval provides women with another treatment option for this condition,” Hylton V. Joffe, director of the Center for Drug Evaluation and Research’s Division of Bone, Reproductive and Urologic Products, said in a press release.

“As part of the FDA’s commitment to protect and advance the health of women, we’ll continue to support the development of safe and effective treatments for female sexual dysfunction.”

Vyleesi does not restrict alcohol use, one of several advantages it is seen as having over Addyi, its chief competitor. It also includes tolerable side effects, with the most common one being nausea.

AMAG Pharmaceuticals is the developer of the drug.

About one in 10 premenopausal women in the U.S. suffer from hypoactive sexual desire disorder, according to Unblush, a website that offers women information on the condition.