Addyi, The ‘Female Viagra’ Approved By FDA, But It May Not Be Worth It

Women have long called attention to the lack of equality when it comes to medications for boosting the libido. However, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has finally approved the first ‘female viagra’ and it will be marketed as Addyi by Sprout Pharmaceuticals. It will be the first and currently only commercial drug whose target is to boost sexual desire in women.

There are multiple factors to take into account before considering taking this ‘female viagra’ though. Also known as Flibanserin the drug was initially tested to be an antidepressant and does not work as the male viagra. In fact the pill does not work like any male libido enhancer on the market. Where men are able to simply pop a pill the day they desire to be sexually active, Addyi would have to be taken once a day for a full month before any kind of result will be noticeable.

Viagra for men works by stimulating the blood flow to the genitals but flibanserin works on a neurological level. The drug is specifically for pre-menopausal women who are suffering from hypoactive sexual desire disorder (HSDD) which is low sexual desire and can be caused by a variety of factors. The drug increases dopamine and stimulates certain receptors in the brain while blocking others in order to increase sexual desire itself. Not really a ‘female viagra’.

A vote of 18 to 6 approved Addyi for sale on June 4 by the FDA and they insist that appropriate measures will be put in place to ensure that women are aware of the side effects. Addyi will only be made available through certified health care professionals and pharmacies and only after a doctor has determined that the woman does suffer from HSDD. HSDD is reported to affect an estimated 8-14% of US women ages 20-49. Bear in mind though that according to Quartzclinical trials of Addyi held in 2013, only resulted in approximately 8% – 13% of the women experienced “much improved” sexual desire and only about 2 more satisfying sexual encounters per month were had.

Critics believe that lobbying by the women rights group Even The Score may have helped sway the FDA approval and the organisation has released a video thanking the FDA for giving the green light. Of course no mention is made of the drug’s minimal effectiveness or the side effects, only that thus far this will have women gain 1 point to men’s 26 in the area of drugs to increase sexual activity and desire.

Rejected twice before by the FDA for its severe side effects and marginal ability to produce the effect that it is being marketed for, the drug is still being required to undergo a few more tests before officially being released. The reason is that those side effects still exist. Women who take the pill are likely to experience dizziness, nausea, drowsiness, fainting spells, and falling blood pressure. Coupled with alcohol and even hormonal contraceptives the odds of these potential side effects occurring increase. Persons with liver ailments, or taking certain other medicines, such as types of steroids are also at higher risk. On the other hand Viagra has very mild side effects that include headaches, indigestion, blue-tinted vision and in some cases a stuffy nose. Nonetheless the drug will now be available as of October.

But honestly is the potential damage worth the 2 more gratifying encounters a month? With Addyi’s host of side effects and the fact that this ‘female viagra’ will be fiddling with the brain is it truly worth it?

[Photo Courtesy of Sprout Pharmaceuticals, Inc.]

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