Now we’re rocking: New drug, Tefina, the ‘female Viagra’ hits the market

This new testosterone-based treatment, developed by the Canadian laboratory Trimel Pharmaceuticals, is a nasal spray that women inhale two hours before sexual activity.

According to the Daily Mail, the effects of Tefina last up to six hours and boost libido while increasing the blood flow to the sexual organs.

“We’ve already shown that for women with a low sex drive, testosterone therapy can increase not only their sexual desire and arousal, but also help them to reach orgasm,” researcher Susan Davis from the Monash University of Australia told Medical Daily.

A study carried out on Tefina was announced last week, and researchers are currently in the second phase of clinical trials in Australia.

Trials are also already underway in the United States and in Canada. Professor Davis also explained to Medical Daily that Tefina would be “particularly useful for patients for whom sex has become a chore rather than a pleasurable experience.”

Not a new idea
Many laboratories have explored the link between testosterone (the hormone associated with predominantly male characteristics) and the female sex drive. Since 2004, many studies have promised new testosterone-based products that could enhance female sexual pleasure.

In 2006, a patch called Intrinsa was made available in Europe (the FDA rejected the product in the US).

This was designed to improve low sex drive in women who have had their ovaries and uteruses removed resulting in surgically-induced menopause. The Intrinsa patch was withdrawn from the market due to commercial reasons, despite being made available for prescription on the NHS in 2004.

In developing the patch, Warner Chilcott Pharmaceuticals in the UK wanted to expand on the limited treatment available for “all women who are post-menopausal and have hypoactive sexual desire disorder (HSDD).” This quest raised so many questions from European

uthorities that the company has since backtracked, however.
Apart from the side-effects associated with increased testosterone (development of excess hair, skin reactions like acne and voice change), there are many questions still left hanging as to the safety of taking hormonal treatments long term. The same concern applies to Tefina.

A lucrative market
Since the advent of the little blue pill, male sex drive has been the focus of a lot of attention. Cialis®, Levitra® and, of course, Viagra® all guarantee men high sexual performance, but there’s no such treatment available for women.

However, the market for improved sexual performance for women has caught the interest of more than a few laboratories. The pharmaceutical industry has been exploring this potentially lucrative market for years. But is the interest in this area medical or purely commercial?

There is a fine line between improving quality of life and the dangers of over-medicalisation. “When do sexual problems become sexual dysfunction?” asked Dr. John Bankcroft, director of the Kinsey Institute, back in 2002.

In 2003, the American journalist Ray Moynihan rippled the waters by telling the British Medical Journal he thought female sexual problems were a creation. A decrease in sexual desire is a perfectly natural response in numerous situations where women are suffering stress, fatigue or difficulties in their relationships.

But when is low sex drive a disorder? “Many of us aren’t able to distinguish between adaptive inhibitions and sexual dysfunction, and this makes it difficult to come up with an effective pharmaceutical product,” says Dr. Bancroft.

He describes the triple danger of over-medicalisation of sexual problems while neglecting other aspects of women’s lives, an increase in the number of women who think they have HSDD without any real basis, and finally the problems of focusing on coitus in couples’ sex lives.

There is currently some reticence among experts regarding Tefina. Just last week fertility expert Ric Gordon explained to ONE news in New Zealand that the new product could be a big success for the pharmaceutical industry, but that it evaded some key factors in low sex drives among women.

He said that: “For men, sex is a way of releasing stress, while women need to be relaxed before they can make love. It’s therefore a very delicate emotional balance that has to be managed.”
Sources:

- YAHOO News


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