WASHINGTON

FDA to hear panel of experts on female libido drug

The Food and Drug Administration will ask a group of outside medical experts next month to evaluate a much-debated experimental drug designed to boost sexual desire in women.

The meeting is the latest twist in the ongoing saga of flibanserin, a proposed female libido pill which the FDA has already twice declined to approve. But the drug’s backer, Sprout Pharmaceuticals, has enlisted women’s groups and other advocates to lobby the agency to approve the pill, saying women’s sexual problems have been too long overlooked by the federal government.

The FDA said Thursday in a posting it will convene a meeting of its reproductive drugs and drug safety panels on June 4. The agency is not required to follow the advice of such panels, though it often does.

For decades, drugmakers have tried unsuccessfully to develop a female equivalent to Viagra, the blockbuster drug that treats men’s erectile dysfunction. But disorders of women’s sexual desire have proven resistant to drugs that act on blood flow, hormones and other simple biological functions.

Sprout’s drug flibanserin is the first attempt to increase libido by acting on brain chemicals linked to appetite and mood.

OKLAHOMA CITY

After night that spawned 51 tornadoes, more forecast

Communities in several southern Plains states set to work cleaning up Thursday after a night of storms that spawned 51 tornadoes, assessing the damage under sunny skies but with the threat of even worse weather on the horizon.

The storms strafed northern Texas, Nebraska and Kansas on Wednesday and early Thursday but reserved their worst for the Oklahoma City area, where at least a dozen people were injured in a trailer park and where a 43-year-old woman was killed.

Storms that could produce more powerful tornadoes could rake the Plains on Friday and Saturday, said meteorologist John Hart of the Storm Prediction Center in Norman.

BUJUMBURA, Burundi

Protests, political crisis threaten more bloodshed

A growing political crisis is threatening to plunge Burundi into renewed bloodshed a decade after it emerged from civil war, with over 40,000 people already fleeing the country, officials say.

Protests have erupted almost daily since April 25, when President Pierre Nkurunziza announced he would run for a third term in elections scheduled for next month. The peace accord that ended the civil war mandated a two-term presidential limit.

At least nine people have died in clashes between protesters and the police linked to the political crisis, according to witnesses and the Burundian Red Cross.

– From news service reports