Viagra for Women?

In its efforts to develop a new antidepressant, a German drugmaker has stumbled upon a substance that increases female arousal

German drugmaker Boehringer Ingelheim didn't set out to create a Viagra-like drug for women. The company was simply trying to develop a fast-acting antidepressant, one that patients would respond to in a matter of days, not weeks as in most current treatments. By the late 1990s the company had developed a molecule called flibanserin that seemed to relieve stress in rats. But like many promising drugs, it flopped in human trials. Says Dr. Lutz Hilbrich, the company's executive director of general medicine: "We did not see the effect we were expecting."

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