Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Don’t Be a Pill

From a Times editorial, “'Little Pink Pill' for Women Comes With Risks,” (NYT, 8/21/15), “The most serious side effects include severely low blood pressure and loss of consciousness.” Apparently the prospects of female Viagra, the drug flibanserin that is sold as Addyi, are so great that Valeant bought a small company named Sprout, which had invested 100M in the pill for a cool 1B. A 1000 per cent return on investment, not bad, huh?  In the accompanying photo to another story in the Times ("Maker of Addyi,’Female Viagra’ Drug, Being Sold to Valeant for 1 Billion,” NYT, 8/20/15) , Cindy Whitehead, one of the comely owners of Sprout, had that look of self-satisfaction that we usually associate with post-coital human beings, even though the reason for her happiness would, unless she's a satisfied customer as well as producer of the drug, seem to be mostly the result of the sale. Is a drug which causes loss of consciousness merely a placebo? Or is the negative side effect the Times talks about the beginning of a kind of out of body experience that may hold great promise for both men and women? The original “male” Viagra was discovered by accident when angina patients treated with it developed erections. Viagra doesn’t produce desire; it just helps men to keep their erections once they have desire. But loss of consciousness seems like small price to pay for the increased “consciousness” that comes from a heightened sexual appetite. The only real problem is two fold: those patients who take Addyi and lose consciousness are in danger of falling and hurting themselves and those who lose consciousness say in bed while they are having sex with their inamoratas are not likely to remember the act or even be cognizant of what has happened to them. Thus the new female Viagra sounds a little like slipping a Mickey into a drink.

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