US women would soon have another drug option designed to boost low sex drive: A shot they can give themselves in the thigh or abdomen that raises sexual interest for several hours.
The medication approved on Friday by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is only the second approved to increase sexual desire in women, a market drugmakers have been trying to cultivate since the blockbuster success of Viagra for men in the late 1990s.
The other drug is a daily pill.
The upside of the new drug “is that you only use it when you need it,” said Julia Johnson, a reproductive specialist at UMass Memorial Medical Center who was not involved in its development. “The downside is that it’s a shot — and some people are very squeamish.”
The drug’s developer, Amag Pharmaceuticals, could also face some of the same hurdles that have plagued the lone pill previously approved for the condition, including unpleasant side effects and limited insurance coverage.
The company declined to release price information.
The FDA approved the new drug, Vyleesi, for premenopausal women with a disorder defined by a persistent lack of interest in sex, causing stress. The most common side effect in company studies was nausea.
“Women are not desiring more sex. They want better sex,” Amag chief medical officer Julie Krop said.
The condition, known as hypoactive sexual desire disorder, is not universally accepted and some psychologists argue that low sex drive should not be considered a medical problem.
Still, the pharmaceutical industry has long pointed to surveys — some funded by drugmakers — suggesting that it is the most common female sexual disorder in the US, affecting about one in 10 women.
Cynthia Pearson, executive director of the National Women’s Health Network, urged women to avoid using the drug “until more is known about its safety and effectiveness.”
She said in a statement that Amag had not yet published full clinical trial results.
The search for a pill to treat women’s sexual difficulties was once a top priority for many of the world’s biggest drugmakers, including Pfizer, Bayer and Procter & Gamble.
Those companies and others studied and later abandoned drugs acting on blood flow, testosterone and other targets.
Vyleesi acts on receptors for a brain-stimulating hormone called melanocortin, which is associated with sexual arousal and appetite in men and women.
‘SERIOUS QUESTIONS’: Three US senators sent a letter to the US commerce secretary asking whether the project ‘takes into consideration national security requirements’ US Senator Chuck Schumer and two other Democratic colleagues have written to top US administration officials asking for details of Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co Ltd’s (TSMC) plan to build a US$12 billion fab in Arizona. Hsinchu-based TSMC on Thursday last week announced that it would build a plant to make 5 nanometer chips by 2024 that would have the capacity to produce 20,000 semiconductor wafers per month. The world’s biggest contract chipmaker already has one chipmaking fab in Camas, Washington, and design centers in Austin, Texas, and San Jose, California. It said it planned to start construction in Arizona next year and
VULNERABLE: Many women do not report sexual harassment by their landlord over fears they could lose the roof over their head, an expert said A growing number of landlords are asking tenants for sex in exchange for housing as COVID-19 lockdowns and job cuts have left many struggling to pay their rent, housing experts said. A survey by the National Fair Housing Alliance of more than 100 fair housing groups combating discrimination across the US found that 13 percent had seen an increase in sexual harassment complaints during the pandemic. “If I did not have sex with him, he was going to put me out,” one woman facing eviction by her property manager told the alliance in an podcast on its Web site. “As a single
MOM’S LONG CAMPAIGN: Mao Yin had been brought up in Mianyang, Sichuan Province, without any idea that he was the target of a decades-long, high-profile search A Chinese man who was stolen from his family as a toddler has been reunited with his parents after 32 years. Mao Yin (毛寅), then two-and-a-half years old, was snatched in 1988 when he was walking home from nursery with his father. His parents finally embraced him again on Monday in Xian, where he was born. After Mao vanished, his mother Li Jingzhi (李靜芝) quit her job and launched a decades-long search for her son, that included sending out more than 100,000 flyers and appearing on numerous TV shows. That long campaign helped 29 other families find their own missing children and made
HUMAN RIGHTS ABUSES? An institute of the Chinese Ministry of Public Security and a company are to be sanctioned over ‘human rights violations and abuses’ The US Department of Commerce on Friday said that it would sanction a Chinese government institute and eight companies over alleged human rights abuses against Uighurs and other minorities in China’s western Xinjiang region. “These nine parties are complicit in human rights violations and abuses committed in China’s campaign of repression, mass arbitrary detention, forced labor and high-technology surveillance against Uighurs, ethnic Kazakhs and other members of Muslim minority groups in the Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region,” the department said in a statement. The Chinese Ministry of Public Security’s Institute of Forensic Science and Aksu Huafu Textiles Co are to be sanctioned “for