After eight years of work and tests involving 3,000 women, Pfizer says it is abandoning its efforts to prove that Viagra® improves sexual function in women. Women, it turns out, are a lot more complicated than men.
Brain Is Crucial Sexual Organ In Women, Researchers Find
The New York Times -- Women, the maker of Viagra has found, are a lot more complicated than men.
After eight years of work and tests involving 3,000 women, Pfizer Inc. announced that it was abandoning its effort to prove that the impotence drug, Viagra, improves sexual function in women. The problem, Pfizer researchers found, is that men and women have a fundamentally different relationship between arousal and desire.
For men, arousal almost always leads to desire. So by improving a man's ability to have erections, Viagra measurably affects their sexual function. But arousal and desire are often disconnected in women, the researchers found to their consternation. Although Viagra can indeed create the outward signs of arousal in many women, that seems to have little effect on a women's willingness or desire to have sex, the researchers said.
"There's a disconnect in many women between genital changes and mental changes," said Mitra Boolel, leader of Pfizer's sex research team. "This disconnect does not exist in men. With women, (arousal) depends on a myriad of factors."
Shifting focus to brain chemistry
Dr. Boolel said he and his team were continuing their research. But he said the researchers were changing their focus from a woman's genitals to her head. The brain is the crucial sexual organ in women, he said. Drugs that affect brain chemistry "could be an extremely interesting area of investigation," he said.
A competitor, Procter & Gamble, is testing a patch with testosterone, the male hormone, as a means of improving female sexual function. Some gynecologists are already prescribing testosterone for patients who complain of low libidos. Estrogen treatments and supplements also are commonly used.