Find Information About:

Drugs & Supplements

Get information and reviews on prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, vitamins, and supplements. Search by name or medical condition.

Pill Identifier

Pill Identifier

Having trouble identifying your pills?

Enter the shape, color, or imprint of your prescription or OTC drug. Our pill identification tool will display pictures that you can compare to your pill.

Get Started

My Medicine

Save your medicine, check interactions, sign up for FDA alerts, create family profiles and more.

Get Started

WebMD Health Experts and Community

Talk to health experts and other people like you in WebMD's Communities. It's a safe forum where you can create or participate in support groups and discussions about health topics that interest you.

  • Second Opinion

    Second Opinion

    Read expert perspectives on popular health topics.

  • Community


    Connect with people like you, and get expert guidance on living a healthy life.

Got a health question? Get answers provided by leading organizations, doctors, and experts.

Get Answers

Sign up to receive WebMD's award-winning content delivered to your inbox.

Sign Up

Health & Sex

Font Size

Can Medicine Boost Female Sex Drive?

Drugmakers are testing new drugs that may be able to produce increased sexual desire in women.
WebMD Feature
Reviewed by Louise Chang, MD

A drug to boost female sex drive could be worth billions to the company that manages to get it approved by the FDA. Recently, two new treatments have made strides towards that goal. But some are skeptical of the real value of such a drug to the women it's supposed to help.

In late 2004, FDA approval of Intrinsa, a testosterone patch for low female sex drive, seemed imminent. News reports heralded Intrinsa as a "Viagra for her," suggesting that it would revolutionize sexual health for women just as erectile dysfunction pills had for men.

Recommended Related to Sex & Relationships

5 Couples Reveal: "The Extreme Ways We Saved Our Marriages"

By Colleen OakleyWould you send your husband to boot camp? Install a stripper pole in your bedroom? As these five couples discovered, when love is on the skids, sometimes you have to take a big risk to get it back on track. Every marriage has its ups and downs, but when you hit a really rough spot, where do you turn? Sure, there's couples counseling, but not every couple (and definitely, let's face it, not every guy) takes to it. In fact, just as every relationship is different, so is the recipe...

Read the 5 Couples Reveal: "The Extreme Ways We Saved Our Marriages" article > >

Except an FDA advisory panel saw things differently. Finding numerous problems with the evidence for the drug's effectiveness and safety, experts on the panel voted against approving it. Procter & Gamble, the company responsible for Intrinsa, withdrew its application. Procter & Gamble is a WebMD sponsor.

Now the frontrunner in the race to market the first prescription drug for low female sex drive is Boehringher-Ingelheim Pharmaceuticals. It has a drug called flibanserin in phase III clinical trials, the final phase of drug testing required for FDA approval. The company is a WebMD sponsor.

Flibanserin is a bit mysterious. It is a kind of antidepressant, but it hasn't been approved previously for any use. Boehringher-Ingelheim is saying little publicly about the drug. The company declined WebMD's request to interview a company representative, instead issuing a prepared statement. The statement does not explain how the drug is supposed to work, other than that "flibanserin is a molecule acting on the central nervous system and is not a hormone product."

Another drug, called bremelanotide, is in development for low female sex drive and male erectile dysfunction at the same time. Both potential uses are being tested in phase II clinical trials, which are early studies to assess how well a drug works and how safe it is.

Bremelanotide is a new chemical created in the laboratory. It's given in the form of a nasal spray, and it acts on the central nervous system.

"It's actually working in a region of the brain called the hypothalamus, which is known to be involved in sexual arousal in both men and women," says Carl Spana, PhD, CEO of Palatin Technologies, the company researching bremelanotide.

1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5

Today on WebMD

couple not communicating
How to tell when you're in one.
couple face to face
Get your love life back on track.
couple having an argument
Turn spats into solutions
couple in argument
When to call it quits.
Life Cycle of a Penis
HIV Myth Facts
How Healthy is Your Sex Life
Couple in bed
6 Tips For Teens
Close-up of young man
screening tests for men
HPV Vaccine Future