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 Serzone has been withdrawn from markets.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
May 26, 2017
Friday - Sunday
Anthony DiMaggio
Swamp Politics, Trump Style: “Russiagate” Diverts From the Real White House Scandals
Paul Street
It’s Not Gonna Be Okay: the Nauseating Nothingness of Neoliberal Capitalist and Professional Class Politics
Jeffrey St. Clair
The ICEmen Cometh
Ron Jacobs
The Deep State is the State
Pete Dolack
Why Pence Might be Even Worse Than Trump
Patrick Cockburn
We Know What Inspired the Manchester Attack, We Just Won’t Admit It
Thomas Powell
The Dirty Secret of the Korean War
Mark Ashwill
The Fat Lady Finally Sings: Bob Kerrey Quietly Resigns from Fulbright University Vietnam Leadership Position
John Davis
Beyond Hope
Uri Avnery
The Visitation: Trump in Israel
Ralph Nader
The Left/Right Challenge to the Failed “War on Drugs”
Traci Yoder
Free Speech on Campus: a Critical Analysis
Dave Lindorff
Beware the Supporter Scorned: Upstate New York Trump Voters Hit Hard in President’s Proposed 2018 Budget
Daniel Read
“Sickening Cowardice”: Now More Than Ever, Britain’s Theresa May Must be Held to Account on the Plight of Yemen’s Children
Ana Portnoy
Before the Gates: Puerto Rico’s First Bankruptcy Trial
M. Reza Behnam
Rethinking Iran’s Terrorism Designation
Brian Cloughley
Ukraine and the NATO Military Alliance
Josh Hoxie
Pain as a Policy Choice
David Macaray
Stephen Hawking Needs to Keep His Mouth Shut
Ramzy Baroud
Fear as an Obstacle to Peace: Why Are Israelis So Afraid?
Kathleen Wallace
The Bilious Incongruity of Trump’s Toilet
Seth Sandronsky
Temping Now
Alan Barber – Dean Baker
Blue Collar Blues: Manufacturing Falls in Indiana, Ohio and Pennsylvania in April
Jill Richardson
Saving America’s Great Places
Richard Lawless
Are Credit Rating Agencies America’s Secret Fifth Column?
Louis Proyect
Venezuela Reconsidered
Murray Dobbin
The NDP’s Singh and Ashton: Flash Versus Vision
Ron Leighton
Endarkenment: Postmodernism, Identity Politics, and the Attack on Free Speech
Anthony Papa
Drug War Victim: Oklahoma’s Larry Yarbrough to be Freed after 23 Years in Prison
Rev. John Dear
A Call to Mobilize the Nation Over the Next 18 Months
Yves Engler
Why Anti-Zionism and Anti-Jewish Prejudice Have to Do With Each Other
Ish Mishra
Political Underworld and Adventure Journalism
Binoy Kampmark
Roger Moore in Bondage
Rob Seimetz
Measuring Manhoods
Edward Curtin
Sorry, You’re Not Invited
Vern Loomis
Winning the Lottery is a State of Mind
Charles R. Larson
Review: Mary V. Dearborn’s “Ernest Hemingway”
David Yearsley
The Ethos of Mayfest
May 25, 2017
Jennifer Matsui
The Rise of the Alt-Center
Michael Hudson
Another Housing Bubble?
Robert Fisk
Trump Meets the New Leader of the Secular World, Pope Francis
John Laforge
Draft Treaty Banning Nuclear Weapons Unveiled
Benjamin Dangl
Trump’s Budget Expands War on the Backs of America’s Poor
Alice Donovan
US-Led Air Strikes Killed Record Number of Civilians in Syria
Andrew Moss
The Meaning of Trump’s Wall
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail