Now women with sexual dysfunction will have a solution to their problem with decrease in libido or sex drive. A 2002 study found that up to one-third of adult women might experience hypoactive sexual desire disorder, a technical term for when women lack sexual desire or fantasy.
Recently the FDA approved flibanserin, which will be sold as Addyi, for the treatment of sexual dysfunction in premenopausal women.
This is the first FDA approved treatment for sexual desire in men or women.
Today’s approval provides women distressed by their low sexual desire with an approved treatment option. The approval is not without warnings. In fact, the agency approved the drug with a risk warning to ensure safety. Of greatest concern, an increased risk of severe low blood pressure, so low it can cause a temporary loss of consciousness. This is more of a concern in patients who drink alcohol while taking the drug. The doctor will be required to warn patients of the risks of consuming alcohol while taking Addyi.
Addyi is frequently referred to as “female Viagra” because it’s a pill for sexual dysfunction in women. However, experts say it’s a misnomer to describe it as such because it works in a distinctly different way to target the brain.
Viagra treats erectile dysfunction, a physical problem, and does not induce sexual desire. Addyi works on the central nervous system, which is why it’s in the same category as an antidepressant.
Another difference is that men take Viagra as needed before a sexual encounter, and women will need to take Addyi once every night. Taking it at night will reduce the likelihood of adverse reactions from low blood pressure and sleepiness or depression from a depressed central nervous system.
Other common side effects include dizziness, nausea, fatigue, insomnia and dry mouth.
In clinical trials, women taking the drug experienced a 37% increase in sexual desire.
Addyi will cost about the same per month as a one month supply of Viagra for men.
Bottom Line: Nearly as many women as men suffer from sexual dysfunction. Addyi is the first drug to address this problem in women. However, women need to be cautious about the use of this new medication. For more information, speak to your physician.