In the 1990s, Pfizer released a drug called sildenafil, which would revolutionize sexual health for men. The little blue pill, Viagra, as it is commonly known by its brand name, helps men relieve erectile dysfunction in a variety of ways. It was originally formulated to help with pulmonary arterial hypertension, and it was soon after discovered that the drug helped regulate blood flow to the penis — thus helping men to obtain and maintain an erection. While this is a wonder drug for some men, what would happen if a woman took it?
Researchers have theorized that Viagra might have the same sexual effect on women as it does for men. In a 2008 study in the Journal of the American Medical Association, researchers found sildenafil could possibly increase sexual function for women who take serotonin reuptake inhibitors (antidepressant medications). When women who took both antidepressants and Viagra, there was an improvement in the orgasm function, but they did not show an increase in sexual desire. This research is not enough to warrant the use for women, and it is also important to note that the study was funded by Pfizer, the makers of Viagra.
In another 12-week study, scientists found that out of 202 post-menopausal or post-hysterectomy women, those who took Viagra experienced overall better satisfaction as compared to the controls in the study who took a placebo. Their sex lives were enhanced overall. However, there is still little research on this correlation and many health care providers strongly suggest seeking other remedies for any sort of female sexual dysfunction; Viagra is still only licensed for use in men.
In recent years, no other research has been conducted to determine the efficacy and safety for sildenafil on women. Viagra is not even safe for some men; the side effects may include heart problems, high or low blood pressure, eye problems, severe liver disease, or kidney disease.
In addition, there are many online stores and pharmacies selling “female Viagra,” but none of these drugs have been tested and approved by the Food and Drug Administration. You could be buying a sugar pill, or even worse, something with harmful side effects.