Flibanserin is the rather tongue-twisting name of a medication that has just been approved for 'hyposexuality' in women. As such, it has garnered enormous attention from many on both sides of the fence, with rather few in the middle, Rick and I discuss on PodMed this week. We're reporting from an FDA press release.
First of all, what is hyposexuality? The expanded term is actually 'generalized hypoactive sexual desire disorder,' abbreviated HSDD. It occurs in premenopausal women and is unrelated to other medical or psychiatric conditions, problems with a medication or drugs, or relative to relationship issues, and causes significant distress and/or interpersonal difficulty. Okay, that's a mouthful. And the beat goes on. The abstract version of this story is that flibanserin improves this condition only modestly in those who respond to it, and may have a number of side effects while doing so. As such, women are recommended to attempt using flibanserin for a relatively short period of time and if improvements aren't noted, discontinue it. Providers must become certified in its use and pharmacies that dispense it must also. Seems like a lot of barriers to me! On the flip side, proponents point out that there is currently no medication for this condition so it is defensible to approve it. In contrast to many things we discuss on the podcast, Rick and I really don't take a hard and fast position on this one. No doubt that will change as the drug is used by more women.
Other topics this week include USPSTF recommendations on screening for COPD, a polypill for congestive heart failure in NEJM, and an analysis of cancer risk and alcohol consumption in the BMJ. Until next week, y'all live well.