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Experimental medicine flibanserin found in sex supplements for women

European pharmacies sell sex-boosting supplements for women which, according to the label, contain only herb extracts, but in which a Polish laboratory has found the not yet approved medicine flibanserin. Analysts at the Polish National Medicines Institute in Warsaw reported this in the Journal of Pharmaceutical and Biomedical Analysis.

Flibanserin was developed in the 1990s as an anti-depressant. [Eur J Pharmacol. 1997 Dec 11;340(2-3):121-32.] Studies from this period also refer to the substance as BIMT-17. Itís an agonist of the serotonin receptor 5HT-1A and an antagonist of the related 5HT-2A receptor.

Human studies done early in the 21st century have shown that daily doses of 50-100 mg flibanserin can boost women's libido within a couple of weeks. [J Sex Med. 2012 Dec;9(12):3180-8.] [J Sex Med. 2013 Jul;10(7):1807-15] [J Sex Med. 2012 Mar;9(3):793-804.] [J Sex Med. 2012 Apr;9(4):1074-85.]

In 2010 an FDA panel concluded, however, that there was insufficient evidence for flibanserin's effectiveness, and that its effects did not outweigh the associated risks. [ June 18, 2010] After this Boehringer Ingelheim, the pharmaceutical company that had intended to launch 'the Viagra for women', halted its development of the drug. [ October 8, 2010] But an unscrupulous supplements manufacturer then decided to add the same flibanserin to a 'natural' sex supplement for women.

The supplement contains the following ingredients according to the label (including spelling errors): "fructus cornus officinalis, fructus lycium barbarum, atractylodis macrocephalae, radix rehmania glutinosa, herbaepimedii grandiflorum, cortex cinnamomi cassia, radix ginseg panax, fructus amomi angustifolium, fructus schisandrae, radix polygonummultiflorum, mucuna pruriens, peonia lactiflora, muria puama, with-ania somnifera, asparagus racemosus, rhodiola rosea, menthol cryst, vitamin C".

According to the Polish researchers' analyses, the capsules contain 22 mg flibanserin. The manufacturer was not Boehringer Ingelheim of course, which is a reputable company. The Poles detected TFMPP and 1-(2-chloroethyl)-2,3-dihydrobenzimidazol-2-one in the capsules. These are both raw materials used to make flibanserin.

In addition, the researchers found icariin, the most important active ingredient in Horny Goat Weed or Epimedium herba, and magnoflorine and menispermine, both of which may also be found in Epimedium, as well as the amino acids L-arginine, L-dopa and L-histidine, and piperine.

Experimental medicine flibanserin found in sex supplements for women

It's not the first time that flibanserin has shown up in a supplement. In 2012 a laboratory in Singapore also reported that it had found flibanserin in a sex supplement for women. [J Pharm Biomed Anal. 2012 Jan 5;57:104-8.]

J Pharm Biomed Anal. 2014 Jun;94:45-53.

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