Monday, August 24, 2015

The Construction of Sexual Disorder by Sullied Science and Big Pharma

Pablo Picasso, Trois femmes, 1908

“The real problem with ‘pink Viagra’” 
By Emily Nagoski 
Los Angeles Times, August 23, 2015

“The drug has many names: flibanserin, Addyi, Ectris, Girosa or, colloquially, ‘pink Viagra.’ Whatever you want to call the long-in-the-making libido pill for women, it recently gained FDA approval despite ‘serious, serious safety concerns’ and benefits that are ‘modest, maybe less than modest.’ But as a science-driven sex educator, I am less troubled by the risk of low blood pressure and fainting than I am by the drug maker’s reinforcement of an outdated, scientifically invalid model of sexual desire. [….]

The FDA’s analysis of the data showed that only about 10% of the research participants taking flibanserin experienced ‘at least minimal improvement,’ while the remaining 90% experienced nothing at all. This is a drug with such potentially serious side effects that the FDA is requiring special training and certification before providers can prescribe it.

And the ‘disorder’ it treats (or, 90% of the time, fails to treat) isn’t a disorder at all but a normal, healthy variation in human sexual response. The pharmaceutical industry has millions — billions? — of dollars riding on all of us, including our doctors, ignoring 21st century science and reverting to a model of sexual desire that made really good sense in 1977. I think women deserve better.”

The entire article in the Los Angeles Times is here. 

See too this earlier editorial by Ellen Laan and Leonore Tiefer, also from the Times (no, not that one): “The sham drug idea of the year: ‘pink Viagra.’” 

Further reading: Biological Psychiatry, Sullied Psychology, & Pharmaceutical Reason: A Basic Bibliography.


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