Raleigh firm that produces ‘female Viagra’ will expand sales staff

Flibanserin
FILE - In this Friday, Sept. 27, 2013, file photo, a tablet of flibanserin sits on a brochure for Sprout Pharmaceuticals in the company's Raleigh, N.C., headquarters. Government health experts on Thursday, June 4, 2015 backed the approval of the experimental drug intended to boost the female sex drive, but stress that it should carry safety restrictions to manage side effects including fatigue, low blood pressure and fainting. (AP Photo/Allen G. Breed, File)

RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – A Raleigh company’s pill that some are calling a female version of Viagra was approved by the Food and Drug Administration the agency said late Tuesday afternoon.

The drug Flibanserin is made by the Raleigh-based company Sprout Pharmaceuticals.The company said Wednesday that it expected to dramatically expand its sales staff, to about 200 people.

CLICK TO SEE MORE PHOTOS OF SPROUT & THEIR “FEMALE VIAGRA”

In a news release Tuesday, the company said, “The U.S. Food and Drug Administration today approved Addyi (flibanserin) to treat acquired, generalized hypoactive sexual desire disorder (HSDD) in premenopausal women. Prior to Addyi’s approval, there were no FDA-approved treatments for sexual desire disorders in men or women.”

The prescription will become the first medication available to help improve the female libido.

Janet Woodcock, M.D., director of the FDA’s Center for Drug Evaluation and Research, said the approval “provides women distressed by their low sexual desire with an approved treatment option. The FDA strives to protect and advance the health of women, and we are committed to supporting the development of safe and effective treatments for female sexual dysfunction.”

In June, an FDA advisory panel recommended the drug be approved after failing FDA approval twice, first back in 2010.

There are critics who argue not much has changed since 2010 and that the drug’s effect on the libido is not clear and side effects such as sleepiness and dizziness are problematic.

Sprout is looking to build a sales team of 200 people around the drug. The sales team aims to contact OBGYNs where most women are seen and diagnosed with HSDD.

The drug must be taken daily over a period of weeks to become effective.

Sprout Pharmaceuticals was featured as part of WNCN’s “What’s Next” series that focuses on local companies on the cutting edge of technology and ahead of trends.

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NBC News contributed to this article

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