Addyi Approved to Treat Women with Low Sexual Desire
Low libido is the most common female dysfunction (about 1 in 10 women suffer from it) – and the most difficult to treat. Men have been able to treat sexual dysfunction for decades. Women, on the other hand, have suffered (nearly) silently. The Food & Drug Administration just recently approved the world’s first drug designed to enhance a women’s sex drive. Addyi (pronounced ADD-ee) works a bit differently than Viagra, however. It treats libido – not erections or hormonal deficiencies.
How does Addyi work?
Addyi works to improve the sexual desire for women whose loss of it causes difficulty in their lives or relationships. It is not meant for the lack of sexual desire due to illness, relationship problems, or other medicines. Addyi works by changing the balance of brain neurotransmitters.
The “biggest breakthrough for women’s sexual health since the pill,” Addyi comes with mixed reviews. Advocates say the drug and decision to make it available is an end to gender bias and will give more women control over their sex lives and open up the conversation between women and their doctors, many who are too afraid to speak up about low sexual desire because of the lack of available options. Others say it is not effective and has turned the lack of sexual desire into a disease that needs to be fixed.
“It has been a remarkable journey to get to this breakthrough moment. Today we celebrate what this approval means for all women who have long awaited a medical treatment option for this life impacting condition,” said Cindy Whitehead, CEO of Sprout. “We applaud the FDA for putting the patient voice at the center of the conversation and for focusing on scientific evidence.”
Addyi also differs from Viagra, which is taken on an as needed basis, in that it needs to be taken every day to be effective. It also comes with side effects such as nausea, dizziness, low blood pressure, fainting, and sleepiness. It should not be taken with alcohol and is only available through certified health professionals and pharmacies.
In clinical trials, women taking the drug experienced a 37% increase in sexual desire, according to its maker, Sprout Pharmaceuticals.
Many are hopeful that the approval of Addyi will help other, similar drugs aimed at boosting women’s libido pass FDA approval, giving women a plethora of treatment options. A similar drug, bremelanotide, is in development for submission to the FDA in 2017.