Scientists are now testing a drug that could boost women’s desire for sex and also help them lose weight.
The pill, which is being developed with the help of the people behind Viagra, could be on bedside cabinets by the end of next year, News.com.au reported.
With four in ten women saying that their sex life has lost its sizzle at some point, and Viagra already making over 2.5 billion dollars a year, drug companies have long tried to create a female version.
But the strong psychological base to women’s libido means they have struggled to find the right product.
Mike Wyllie, one of the team who created Viagra, believes the latest drug being developed by British firm ORLIBID could succeed where others have failed.
The drug, which acts on the brain to increase desire, is a synthetic version of melatonin, a hormone usually associated with tanning.
Melatonin also has a role to play in libido - and appetite. Drug companies have long known that melatonin affects sex drive, but have struggled to find a way to package it in a pill, not a jab.
The new tablet form is more convenient and has fewer side-effects. The pills could cause nausea, and regulators will have to be satisfied that they are not addictive.
However, it is thought that women could actually need fewer pills as their treatment progresses.
The company plans to carry out three worldwide studies to measure the effects on women. If they show it to be safe and effective, the drug could be on sale in the UK by the end of 2015.
Taken 15 minutes before sex, the tablets could boost libido for more than two hours. Studies of a jab with a similar formula showed it led to satisfying sex more often.
And while the pills are designed to increase sexual desire, they may also curb appetite.