Flibanserin, “Female Viagra”, Improves Libido for Some Women

We get a lot of emails from husbands and wives who are distressed by the wife’s low interest in sex. Libido is affected by a whole host of factors — relationship, communication, family situation, stress, time management, hormones, and more — so medication shouldn’t be your first resort. But while you’re working on all those other areas in your marriage, it’s probably worth your time to talk to the wife’s doctor about any health problems that may be contributing to her disinterest or dissatisfaction with sex. This can be an embarrassing topic to bring up, but your sex life is worth an awkward conversation!

Along with the other tools available to your marriage, it appears that the drug flibanserin is effective at improving female libido.

Flibanserin is used for hypoactive sexual desire disorder among women. Those receiving flibanserin report a 0.5 increase compared to placebo in the number of times they had “satisfying sexual events”. In those on flibanserin it rose from 2.8 to 4.5 times a month while women receiving placebo reported also an increase of “satisfying sexual events” from 2.7 to 3.7 times a month. The onset of the flibanserin effect was seen from the first timepoint measured after 4 weeks of treatment and maintained throughout the treatment period.

Let me translate:

  • Baseline low libido women: 2.7 satisfying sexual events per month
  • Baseline low libido women taking placebo (sugar pill with no medical effect): 3.7 satisfying sexual events per month
  • Baseline low libido women taking flibanserin: 4.5 satisfying sexual events per month

As is often the case, placebos alone show significant improvement over the baseline. This means that you can do almost anything to improve your sex life as long as you believe it will work! The human mind is a powerful thing.

However, the results also indicate that flibanserin is significantly better than a placebo, so it’s worth asking your doctor if it’s a good option for you.

Have any of you tried flibanserin? Did it help you? Leave a comment.

4 comments

  1. Less than two additional sexual events in a month (notice they did not say orgasm) is not what I would call “significant”. A 0.5% increase compared to placebo is not exactly how I would define “effective”. Newly approved drugs are usually quite expensive and sexual dysfunction in females is rarely covered by insurance. So this would most likely be paid for out of pocket. Please don’t run to your doctor expecting a prescription for more orgasms and that insurance will pay for it. To compare this to Viagra (also not usually paid for by insurance) which is usually effective at producing an erection (not necessarily an orgasm) is not quite an equitable or accurate comparison.

    1. Well, 4.5 (flibanserin) compared to 3.7 (placebo) is a 21% improvement, not 0.5%. And “satisfying” is self-reported by the women in the study, so… they’re “satisfied”, by their definition.

      As for whether any particular insurance plan will cover it, I don’t see how that’s relevant to this discussion.

      No need to be so negative! I don’t think I was overselling it. I’m not getting a commission or anything, haha.

  2. One thing about equating Viagra with Flibanserin is that with Viagra it is not libido that is being treated, but erectile dysfunction, a physical problem.. Viagra may or may not effectively address that issue. ED drug manufacturers will tell you they are 70-85% effective while anecdotal reporting, particularly from older users, is more in the range of 50-60%. I mention this so the women reading information about Flibanserin and hoping for a Viagra-like effect know 1)that there is no shortage of myth about PDE5 inhibitors’ effectiveness and 2) that they realize that while their libido issues may be affected by things such as dryness, atrophy (among other things) and the discomfort or pain that accompany them, their level of libido is also will be determined by psychological and emotional factors that affect their context at the time. Beyond lubricants and hormone replacement therapy to treat atrophy and dryness and keep sex “comfortable”, Flibanserin is a hoped for aphrodisiac to increase libido. There may be a chemical issue it can treat in at least some women to increase libido, but I would encourage women with low libido to also consider their context needed to have satisfying sex. Having satisfying sex can increase the desire to have more sex satisfying sex. Part of having satisfying sex is you. The other part is your partner. Have you let your partner know what you need to have a satisfying sexual experience? While the search is on for a libido elevating drug, that may be a good place to start. It may not be your libido that is broken, but the context within which you are sharing your sexual experience.

    1. All great points! I hope I was clear in the most… if your sex life is less than ideal, your first stop shouldn’t be a drug.

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