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New Unisex Love Drug Uses Inhaler

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Viagra rejuvenated a generation of limp lotharios, but a new love drug called PT-141 could be as good for the goose as it is for the gander.

Just a snort or two from a nasal inhaler is enough to stoke up the sexual fires of both women and men, and often within minutes, Canadian scientists say.

And sexperts say the drug, which is undergoing final trials before beginning a federal Food and Drug Administration review, will be the boon to women with desire disorders that Viagra was for many impotent men.

"The bottom line is that women have been really shortchanged," said Laura Berman, Ph.D., author of "The Passion Prescription: Ten Weeks to Your Best Sex - Ever!"

"Hopefully, this will be another option for women with physiologically based sexual dysfunction."

Right now, the only real options for women who have lost that loving feeling are sexual therapy or a trip to the shrink.

"There's nothing in the arsenal now to treat female sexual dysfunction," Jim Pfaus, a researcher at Concordia University in Montreal who is working on PT-141, told the BBC. "That's one of the things that's really promising about this drug."

This is no Spanish fly.

PT-141 is a copy of the hormone that stimulates the melanocyte-receptors in the brain that play a role in sexual arousal.

Unlike Viagra, which gets the blood flowing in men, it goes straight to work on what the late Frank Zappa called the "ugliest" part of the body - the mind.

"It affects the central nervous system," said Berman. "It affects desire."

In lab trials, female rats exposed to PT-141 immediately began seeking out male rats for sex.

Women who took part in trials told New York magazine that within minutes they felt a "tingling and a throbbing" along with a "a strong desire to have sex."

Men told the magazine a snort made them feel "younger and more energetic" as well as randy. "You get this humming feeling," one man said. "You're ready to take your pants off and go."

It is, as author Julian Dibbell put it, "a drug that makes you not only able to but eager to."

PT-141 is being developed by Palatin Technologies, a New Jersey-based drugmaker.

The company expects it'll take up to three more years before the drug goes to market.


(c) 2005, New York Daily News. Distributed by Knight Ridder/Tribune News Service.

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