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Female Viagra Here via Vella Bioscience

Female Viagra to increase sex drive
Written by Sarah Friedman

Vella Bioscience is bringing us ‘female Viagra’ to help with sexual dysfunction issues in the female population

We already know that older guys sometimes pop a little pill when about to participate in sex play; as many can’t get the job done on their own anymore. It’s practically a joke in society. Now, the ladies are getting in on it too, with Vella Bioscience, and its newly patented female Viagra.

What’s Viagra, to begin with?

Viagra is a brand name for the medication Sildenafil, which is used to treat both erectile dysfunction, and pulmonary arterial hypertension. The latter is definitely not sexual, and relates to increased blood pressure in the lung’s arteries. It’s very much a duel purpose drug, with its more popularly known use as a way to get a guy to get an erection, keep it, and finish the job. The drug is not advised for men with cardiac disease.

The Sildenafil mechanism of action involves blocking phosphodiesterase 5 (PDE5) enzymes. These enzymes work to breakdown cGMP, a regulator of blood to the penis. It won’t work on a penis without the man getting sexually aroused alongside taking the medication. As per its other use, it also dilates the blood vessels in the lungs.

Viagra was first made by Pfizer in 1989, though the pharma company was actually attempting to find a drug to treat chest pain from heart-related issues. In 1998, both the US and EU approved Viagra for medical use in males, but not for the female population. 22 years later in 2020, it was the 183rd most prescribed medicine in the US, accounting for more than two million prescriptions. In the UK, you don’t need a prescription, and can purchase it over-the-counter.


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Viagra helps a man sustain an erection, and have an orgasm. It’s a standard medicine used at this point to treat sexual issues in men; and is often used without a prescription in the recreational world. While its sometime taken to improve the experience when the mechanics already work; there is limited evidence that it has much affect when the user doesn’t experience erectile dysfunction. It’s not prescribed for sexual dysfunction in women.

What about sexual dysfunction in women?

Viagra has always been a man’s medication, with nothing mentioned about female use of the drug. Truth is, and I can say this as a woman; though women certainly experience sexual dysfunction, it’s not always obvious like with men, and often not a deal-breaker. Women can fake desire without it showing through a body part not functioning, or use lubrication to hide the inability to make the sexual process work. And realistically, women often just quietly grin and bear it, or avoid sex altogether when having problems. Until recently, not a lot of attention was put on this. Luckily, this is changing now.

One of the biggest issues with women, and the one that generally leads to the other problems experienced, is a low sex drive. Officially called Female hypoactive sexual desire disorder (HSDD), it was first formally recognized back in 1950, though not much was originally done with this information at that time.

In terms of how many women are affected, the numbers range from 14%-40% as per a study from 2018 entitled Incidence and Knowledge of Hypoactive Sexual Desire Disorder and Its Treatment: A Survey. In that survey, the number of women who said they had a low sex drive was 40%; with an expectation that at least 14% do suffer from HSDD.

Women experience changes in hormones and sexual appetite through age. Cannabis use has already gone up in menopausal women, who are looking to balance this out. However, it is thought HSDD isn’t necessarily connected to these things. This is partly because it’s seen in women of all ages and different life phases. Much like male erectile dysfunction, the issue isn’t related to a fear of death, or anything like that; but is often linked to “lower health-related quality of life, lower general happiness and satisfaction with partners and more frequent negative emotional states.”

Though for men it’s a bit more commonplace and accepted to speak of these things; one of the big barriers to treatment for women, is that many don’t want to speak about it at all. This includes both a stigma on speaking about non-working sex parts; and a cultural aspect, especially for older generations that grew up in stricter conditions. It still applies today for women in circumstances where the idea of speaking about sexuality, is not promoted.

Female with HSDD
Female with HSDD

HSDD as a problem goes further than simply the desire to have sex. Women with HSDD don’t generally engage in sexual thoughts, or have sexual fantasies. This goes along with the lack of desire for actual sex; an aspect of it that can have negative effects in relationships. While different physical ailments can lead to HSDD (cancer, diabetes…), and certain medications as well, it seems much of it is psychological.

New female Viagra on its way

Whereas it was more a hush-hush topic at one point; these days it’s become a bigger deal to consider the sex desires of women. One avenue for help is with MDMA, which life sciences company Mind Cure Health Inc., is looking into. The company’s Desire Project focuses on HSDD, and clinical research involving MDMA. Right now, this project is still in early stages.

Another drug, which is past early stages, is Women’s Pleasure Serum ($65), made by New York’s Vella Bioscience; a femtech company looking to use science to empower women. Dubbed a ‘female Viagra’, this pleasure serum is cannabinoid-based, and is meant specifically to treat antidepressant-induced female sexual dysfunction. The company announced last week it received its first patent via the US’s Patent and Trademark Office.

The patent is for the use of cannabinoids in treating Antidepressant-Induced Female Sexual Dysfunction. In this case specifically, we’re talking about sexual dysfunction – at least for now – only related to the use of antidepressants. The logic is that it would work on other populations of women with HSDD, but for now the official patent is geared in only one direction. In the future, this will likely expand.

Nial DeMena, Vella’s CEO, had this to say, “Vella’s ability to do pharmaceutical-like research inside the sexual wellness consumer space is on full display with the grant of our first patent, and we expect several more to come. Scientific innovation is Vella’s x-factor and the wellspring of our many disruptive products and technologies we have now and have ahead of us. As a company, we bring a certain ‘the future-is-now’ attitude to women’s sexual empowerment and pleasure that is wholly unique.”

While the product in question is not geared to treat all forms of HSDD, it is meant for women who are taking antidepressants of any class, and who are experiencing hyposexual issues directly related to the medications. According to a PRNewswire report, “Millions of women taking antidepressants discontinue treatment due to sexual side-effects, and that number continues to climb. Vella will form a wholly new pharmaceutical entity to now pursue an FDA-approved treatment.” The new medication goes in line with previous research that points to cannabis as a useful tool for sex and orgasms in general.

Female Viagra
Female Viagra

According to Harin Padma-Nathan, MD, the lead principal investigator for over 110 trials, including regular Viagra, “SSRI-induced sexual dysfunction is common in women and to date there is no effective treatment. Our newly issued patent covering our novel, topical approach to this disorder will be the impetus for the formation of a new company focused on this huge unmet need in women’s health.”

The patent is meant to “lay the foundation for the upcoming spin-out pharmaceutical company that will use novel active topical agents to create an on-demand treatment for antidepressant-induced sexual dysfunction through a traditional FDA pathway. Vella’s patent establishes it as a pioneer in the clinical beauty space of female sexual health and wellness and proves its commitment to science and innovation,” according to PRNewswire.

Conclusion

Women have been put on the back burner for years concerning sexual issues. This newer trend to work with women and these issues, and to find useful treatments, is a massive step forward. And a much appreciated one for all women who know something is wrong, but not what, or what to do. One product is out, with way more to come. And that should definitely help the fairer side of the species…to actually cum.

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About the author

Sarah Friedman

I look stuff up and and write stuff down, in order to make sense of the world around. And I travel a lot too.