Drug boosts desire in women on SSRIs

One of the most prevalent side effects of antidepressants is their, well, depressing effect on the libido and sexual functioning. Could getting around that problem be as easy as popping a pill? A new study funded by Pfizer says so. Premenopausal women who were having sexual side effects from their antidepressant therapy got some relief on Viagra (sildenafil): their assessment of the problem dropped by about a third on the drug versus one-fifth on placebo.

Now, it isn't FDA-approved for women; Pfizer studied its ability to boost sexual functioning in females, but failed to show a benefit. But those studies weren't zeroed in on women taking antidepressants. So these new results could inspire off-label use of Viagra for those women. "This will change practice," one UCLA psychiatrist told the Los Angeles Times (and he wasn't involved in the study).

- read the JAMA release
- see the LA Times story
- check out the Wall Street Journal Health Blog's coverage