By The Numbers: Women’s March 2018

Women's March 2018 (Yahoo)

Women’s March 2018 (Yahoo)

Did you go to a Women’s March this past weekend? I went to the one in LA, and had a great time! It was wonderful being surrounded by so many positive people interested in change.

I was curious to see if there were any numbers on how many people marched this year. It does make sense that turnout would be lower this year than last year, which saw around 3M people around the country. It has been noted that year-over-year attendance in major cities decreased, while those in surrounding areas actually increased due to protestors opting to attend marches closer to home.

While it was difficult to estimate because some cities had marches spread out over the weekend and some cities didn’t have estimates, other cities still reported numbers:

  • Los Angeles: 500K
  • New York City: 200K+
  • San Diego: 37K
  • Washington, DC: 10K
  • Raleigh, NC: 1K+
  • Casper, Wyoming: 350

Hit the links to read more about the numbers. Can’t wait to march next year!

FDA Approves “Female Viagra” Addyi

The experimental drug flibanserin, made by Sprout Pharmaceuticals, is at the center of a regulatory controversy.

The experimental drug flibanserin, made by Sprout Pharmaceuticals, is at the center of a regulatory controversy.

Yesterday, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved Addyi (also known by its generic name Flibanserin) for public consumption. The drug, produced by Sprout Pharmaceuticals, is being touted as a “female Viagra,” a way to “even the score” sexually against men (who have many option to treat waning sexual desire). In some circles, it’s seen as a big breakthrough for women’s sexual health.

Interestingly, Addyi is the first drug to specifically treat waning sex drives for both men and women. (Viagra solved a purely medical/physical issue rather than a psychological one.) Addyi targets the central nervous system, putting it in line with an antidepressant.

Addyi purports to help women with hypoactive sexual disorder (i.e. lack of sexual desire.) But it works on a woman’s mind instead of her body. Rather than facilitating blood flow to the genital region, as Viagra does, the drug takes a two-pronged approach:

Flibanserin targets two neurotransmitters in the brain that can help inspire sexual desire. The first is dopamine, which helps control the brain’s reward and pleasure centers and could help drive up our interest in sex. The second is norepinephrine, which affects parts of the brain that control our attention and our response to things in our environment and could help direct our attention to a sexual partner.

The ultimate goal is that a woman’s level of desire would increase over time.

(Side note: Apparently, Viagra was marketed to women in 2004. The drug did increase blood flow to the women’s genitals, but didn’t affect their level of sexual desire.)

But the drug isn’t completely out of the woods yet: there are still some concerns regarding side effects. Doctors and pharmacists will need to undergo specific training of the drug before dispensing it, and will need to keep track of the women who take it. The biggest side effects include low blood pressure, sleepiness and “sudden fainting,” especially when taken with alcohol. (I have to say, I don’t really understand the point of making a drug to help with sex that can’t be paired with alcohol, but that’s just me.)

There’s also an argument that the drug “doesn’t work safely enough to justify its approval:” Women who took the drug during clinical trials reported a 37% increase in sexual desire, which averaged out to not even two more “satisfying sexual experiences” per month. The boost over the placebo group was even smaller.

It’s expected that Addyi will be covered under most health insurance plans, requiring a co-pay, and will inhabit a price range similar to that of Viagra. The drug should hit the market as soon as October (i.e. less than two months), with some outlets reporting an exact date of Oct. 17th.

I have to say, I’m really curious to see how this will do. I want to see how well it’ll perform (heh) sales-wise, and how many women report the side effects. But most of all, I want to see how this drug will influence the female-desire drugs that will surely come after it.

Google Trends: How Many People Are Searching for a Female Viagra?

Little pink pill (Stuff NZ)

Little pink pill (Stuff NZ)

Hot on the heels of the news that a female Viagra is edging closer to public consumption, I wanted to see how often U.S. Internet users (which would be basically everyone) were searching for information related to female Viagra. I used “2004-present” as my timeframe.

First, here’s how often “female viagra” (red line) against “viagra” (blue line):

Google Trends: 'Female Viagra' vs. 'Viagra,' U.S. 2004-Present

Google Trends: ‘Female Viagra’ vs. ‘Viagra,’ U.S. 2004-Present

As you can see, there’s a lot less searching for the former term versus the latter.

Now, let’s look at “female Viagra” on its own:

Google Trends: 'Female Viagra,' U.S. 2004-Present

Google Trends: ‘Female Viagra,’ U.S. 2004-Present

It’s hard to ignore that huge spike at the end of the timeframe. That occurred this month. It’s no coincidence: Sprout Pharmaceuticals announced that their female desire pill Flibanserin/ADDYI was recommended for Food & Drug Administration (FDA) approval on Jun. 5th.

Flibanserin/ADDYI will treat women with low libidos, known medically as hypoactive sexual desire disorder (HSDD). I wanted to see how common Google searches for low sex drives appeared.

First, I searched “low sex drive in women,” which was the first specific option Google autofilled for me:

Google Trends: 'Low Sex Drive in Women,' U.S. 2004-Present

Google Trends: ‘Low Sex Drive in Women,’ U.S. 2004-Present

Interesting. It appears that the term hit its peak (ha) around a spike in 2011, and then crested in 2013. It’s dipped since then, but is starting to come back up. (Also, I’d love to know what happened in 2007.)

But let’s put this in context. Here’s “low sex drive in women” (blue line) versus “low sex drive” (red line):

Google Trends: 'Low Sex Drive in Women' vs. 'Low Sex Drive,' U.S. 2004-Present

Google Trends: ‘Low Sex Drive in Women’ vs. ‘Low Sex Drive,’ U.S. 2004-Present

It’s interesting that the female-specific searches don’t make up that much of the overall searches.

Now let’s find out how many men are searching for information on low desire. Here’s “low sex drive in women” (blue line) versus “low sex drive in men” (red line):

Google Trends: 'Low Sex Drive in Women' vs. 'Low Sex Drive in Men,' U.S. 2004-Present

Google Trends: ‘Low Sex Drive in Women’ vs. ‘Low Sex Drive in Men,’ U.S. 2004-Present

OK, now we can see that low libidos in women are an issue, insofar as they’re being Googled.

So a lot of people (we could probably reasonably assume women) are searching for information on low sex drives in women. But how many are searching for a solution? Maybe a cure, call it “female viagra” (red line)?

Google Trends: 'Low Sex Drive in Women' vs. 'Female Viagra,' U.S. 2004-Present

Google Trends: ‘Low Sex Drive in Women’ vs. ‘Female Viagra,’ U.S. 2004-Present

Holy shit, this is amazing. Sure, users are searching for (presumably) information on women having low sex drives, but they’re searching a lot more for a solution. At no point in this graph are there more searches for “low sex drive in women” than there are for “female viagra.” Also, note how the “female viagra” searches spike at the end, halfway through 2015. As noted above, that’s when Sprout announced their “little pink pill.”

Conclusion:

The evidence here points to the fact that people are actively searching for solutions to cure women’s low sex drives. This certainly warrants a female Viagra pill to be brought to market, but why the hell wasn’t this developed sooner?!