The drug nicknamed "pink Viagra" just cleared a major regulatory hurdle. An FDA advisory panel today gave the green light to flibanserin, a drug designed to increase the sex drive of women with low libido, reports the Los Angeles Times. The same panel rejected the drug twice previously. Today's acceptance means that FDA chief Stephen Ostroff will make his final decision within months on whether the drug should hit the US market, and while he isn't obligated to accept the panel's recommendation, that's how things usually play out. The drug, made by Sprout Pharmaceuticals, would be sold under the name Addyi. The panel gave its blessing provided that Sprout makes sure that women are aware of side effects such as low blood pressure and fainting, reports NPR.
Sprout estimates that about 7% of pre-menopausal women have a condition called hypoactive sexual desire disorder, or HSDD, that the little pink pill can help fix, reports the New York Times. It would be taken nightly. Debate over the drug has gone on for years, with advocates saying it's sexist for the pharmaceutical industry and the FDA to provide drugs that cater to men's sex needs and ignore women's. But critics say Big Pharma is trying to cash in on a non-existent problem and is, in the words of NPR, "oversimplifying female sexuality." In clinical trials, women taking the drug had about one more "sexually satisfying event" per month than usual, reports AP. (The FDA concedes the effects are "numerically small.") The women also reported more desire on questionnaires.