FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Selling One Pill to Treat Side Effects of Another Pill

by MARTHA ROSENBERG

Nearly one in four US women is on antidepressants. The drugs, like Prozac, Paxil and Zoloft, may be happy pills but they are not happy-in-the-bedroom pills. Both older and newer antidepressants cause severe sexual dysfunction like diminished libido and anorgasmia, the inability to achieve orgasm, even with adequate stimulation.

Antidepressant sexual dysfunction is so common, it is used as a sales pitch by the drug manufacturers. “Wellbutrin X works for my depression with a low risk of weight gain and sexual side effects,” say glossy magazine ads showing young men whose sexuality is intact thanks to a better antidepressant. “Can your medicine do all that?” One study found 96 percent patients on a particular antidepressant developed anorgasmia. Who likes those statistics?

Now, marketers of two new sex drugs for women are acknowledging how many women are actually on antidepressants. A Dutch company developing the female libido drugs, Lybrido and Lybridos (which are not yet FDA approved or available) believes the drugs may help the antidepressant-related sexual problems, according to an article in the New York Times magazine. Lybrido contains two possible libido enhancers for women, testosterone and sildenafil, the active ingredient in Viagra. But Lybridos contains testosterone and the antidepressant buspirone, a drug already on the market and known to reverse the negative sexual side effects of antidepressants in some cases by modifying changed levels of the neurotransmitter serotonin that cause the sexual dysfunction.

Buspirone is similar to a “female Viagra” drug that almost reached the market a few years ago. Flibanserin, made by the German company Boehringer Ingelheim, was intended to treat “hypoactive sexual desire disorder” in women but rejected by the FDA. Flibanserin was similar to the antidepressant Serzone which is linked to hyper sexual arousal and the abnormal and painful erectile state known as priapism. Serzone has been withdrawn from markets.

Like Viagra (which had been intended to be an angina drug until its erectile effects appeared) flibanserin, the drug rejected three years ago, was groomed to be an antidepressant drug until its effect on female sexual desire surfaced. Some trial participants did not want to surrender their unused pills at the end of the study. But, despite medical and media excitement about flibanserin and pleas from Big Pharma, Wall Street, husbands, boyfriends and women, the FDA rejected flibanserin in 2010–not for its side effects like dizziness, nausea and sleepiness but because it didn’t seem to work.

Thanks to Big Pharma marketing, Americans increasingly seek a quick fix for “depression,” “sexual dysfunction” and other lifestyle problems. Before direct to consumer marketing of antidepressants, people did not expect to be deliriously happy for no reason or term their problems with marriages and relationships, jobs, health and money, “depression.” Medicalizing lifestyle problems is a cash cow for Big Pharma because advertising works.

Of course, there is no assurance that Lybrido and Lybridos will be approved by the FDA or gain acceptance among doctors and women. But if they do, Big Pharma’s audacious business model of selling one expensive pill to treat side effects of another expensive pill will surely please Wall Street.

Martha Rosenberg is an investigative health reporter. She is the author of  Born With A Junk Food Deficiency: How Flaks, Quacks and Hacks Pimp The Public Health (Prometheus).

 

Martha Rosenberg is an investigative health reporter. She is the author of  Born With A Junk Food Deficiency: How Flaks, Quacks and Hacks Pimp The Public Health (Prometheus).

More articles by:

CounterPunch Magazine

minimag-edit

bernie-the-sandernistas-cover-344x550

zen economics

Weekend Edition
February 24, 2017
Friday - Sunday
Pierre M. Sprey - Franklin “Chuck” Spinney
Sleepwalking Into a Nuclear Arms Race with Russia
Ajamu Baraka
Malcolm X and Human Rights in the Time of Trumpism: Transcending the Master’s Tools
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: Exxon’s End Game Theory
John Laforge
Did Obama Pave the Way for More Torture?
Mike Whitney
McMaster Takes Charge: Trump Relinquishes Control of Foreign Policy 
Paul Street
Liberal Hypocrisy, “Late-Shaming,” and Russia-Blaming in the Age of Trump
Patrick Cockburn
The Coming Decline of US and UK Power
Louisa Willcox
The Endangered Species Act: a Critical Safety Net Now Threatened by Congress and Trump
Vijay Prashad
A Foreign Policy of Cruel Populism
John Chuckman
Israel’s Terrible Problem: Two States or One?
Matthew Stevenson
The Parallax View of Donald Trump
Norman Pollack
Drumbeat of Fascism: Find, Arrest, Deport
Stan Cox
Can the Climate Survive Electoral Democracy? Maybe. Can It Survive Capitalism? No.
Ramzy Baroud
The Trump-Netanyahu Circus: Now, No One Can Save Israel from Itself
Edward Hunt
The United States of Permanent War
David Morgan
Trump and the Left: a Case of Mass Hysteria?
Pete Dolack
The Bait and Switch of Public-Private Partnerships
Mike Miller
What Kind of Movement Moment Are We In? 
Elliot Sperber
Why Resistance is Insufficient
Brian Cloughley
What are You Going to Do About Afghanistan, President Trump?
Binoy Kampmark
Warring in the Oncology Ward
Yves Engler
Remembering the Coup in Ghana
Jeremy Brecher
“Climate Kids” v. Trump: Trial of the Century Pits Trump Climate Denialism Against Right to a Climate System Capable of Sustaining Human Life”
Jonathan Taylor
Hate Trump? You Should Have Voted for Ron Paul
Franklin Lamb
Another Small Step for Syrian Refugee Children in Beirut’s “Aleppo Park”
Ron Jacobs
The Realist: Irreverence Was Their Only Sacred Cow
Andre Vltchek
Lock up England in Jail or an Insane Asylum!
Rev. William Alberts
Grandiose Marketing of Spirituality
Paul DeRienzo
Three Years Since the Kitty Litter Disaster at Waste Isolation Pilot Plant
Eric Sommer
Organize Workers Immigrant Defense Committees!
Steve Cooper
A Progressive Agenda
David Swanson
100 Years of Using War to Try to End All War
Andrew Stewart
The 4CHAN Presidency: A Media Critique of the Alt-Right
Edward Leer
Tripping USA: The Chair
Randy Shields
Tom Regan: The Life of the Animal Rights Party
Nyla Ali Khan
One Certain Effect of Instability in Kashmir is the Erosion of Freedom of Expression and Regional Integration
Rob Hager
The Only Fake News That Probably Threw the Election to Trump was not Russian 
Mike Garrity
Why Should We Pay Billionaires to Destroy Our Public Lands? 
Mark Dickman
The Prophet: Deutscher’s Trotsky
Christopher Brauchli
The Politics of the Toilet Police
Ezra Kronfeld
Joe Manchin: a Senate Republicrat to Dispute and Challenge
Clancy Sigal
The Nazis Called It a “Rafle”
Louis Proyect
Socialism Betrayed? Inside the Ukrainian Holodomor
Charles R. Larson
Review: Timothy B. Tyson’s “The Blood of Emmett Till”
David Yearsley
Founding Father of American Song
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail