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Viagra for Her

Erectile Dysfunction Drug Also Helps Women With Antidepressant-Related Sexual Problems
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Viagra for Her: Study Details continued...

Among the antidepressants taken were Celexa, Effexor, Paxil, and Zoloft.

The study was conducted at seven U.S. research centers between September 2003 and January 2007.

Because sexual problems are a prime reason patients give for stopping the antidepressants, experts think it is important to find a way to relieve the sexual problems.

Before starting the study, the women reported a variety of sexual problems, including lack of libido, difficulty becoming aroused or becoming lubricated, lack of orgasm, or delay in achieving orgasm.

Viagra for Her: Study Results

Researchers used standard measures to evaluate sexual functioning and had the women keep a sexual activity log. They also assessed hormone levels.

When Nurnberg's team looked at overall sexual functioning, they found that 73% of the women on placebo had no improvement in sexual functioning but only 28% of the women taking Viagra reported no improvement.

When they looked at the individual measures, they found women treated with Viagra were significantly more likely to reach orgasm than those in the placebo group. When they looked at the individual measures, such as desire or lubrication, they did not find significant differences.

There was a significant difference, Croft says, in the partner's satisfaction.

The higher a woman's testosterone levels, the researchers also found, the more likely a positive treatment response occurred, regardless of group assignment.

The women reported some side effects, with the most common being headache, reported by 43% of the women on Viagra and 27% of those on placebo. Transient vision disturbances were reported by 14% of those on Viagra and 2% of those on placebo. No one dropped out of the study because of their side effects. In those women who continued their dose of antidepressants, their depression didn't worsen during the study, regardless of their group assignment.

The study was supported by an independent grant from Pfizer, which makes Viagra. The grant was initiated by the researchers and the pharmaceutical company had no other role in the study, the researchers say.

The study, Croft says, ''is the first and only double-blind, randomized trial that shows it works for this.'' Viagra, he notes, is not approved by the FDA for use in women, so the use is ''off-label'' and not typically covered by insurance.

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