Flibanserin Update: Health and Safety Concerns Continue to Be Profound

On Monday, JAMA Internal Medicine published a systematic review evaluating the safety and efficacy of flibanserin, a drug purported to treat Hypoactive Sexual Desire Disorder (HSDD) in premenopausal women.

Unsurprisingly, the researchers reported that flibanserin’s benefits are "are marginal, particularly when taking into account the concurrent occurrence of adverse events.” Further, the researchers reported “the quality of the evidence was graded as very low” and that “women from diverse populations” must be included in clinical trials before flibanserin can be safely prescribed in the medical community.

The National Women’s Health Network has been a vocal opponent of flibanserin and other attempts to over-medicalize women’s sexuality and sexual problems. We have also been a vocal proponent of improving diversity in clinical trials, including for women, people of color, and the elderly. We wholeheartedly support the assessment of flibanserin in this JAMA article, and support the recommendation for more studies, especially with a more diverse study population, to further assess its safety and efficacy.

Rather than a failed “fix-all” pill, NWHN encourages rigorous research be conducted exploring the causes of women’s sexual problems, possible solutions, and what, if anything, might constitute “normal” when it comes to women’s sexuality.

The need for sound evidence on the efficacy and safety profile of flibanserin is evident” - and NWHN will continue exposing the minimal efficacy and unresolved safety profile of this drug until women have the information they need to make the health care decision that is right for them.