Let’s face it, most male libidos are almost always set in the on position but the female libido is the golden egg that men try to get. If a woman smiles at a man, a switch turns it to the on position. A brush across his arm from an attractive woman and his switch is on, let’s be honest, if a man bumps into a wall, he becomes turned on. His next attempt is to not only try to hold a conversation with the woman but also to date and bed her. Let’s flip the script. It is common knowledge that men have to make alot of effort to turn on the female libido. You had to create the environment of romance or at least an element of excitement. The age-old attempt of flowers and candy is not enough. Effort has to be made to trigger that female libido in all her senses using touch, smell, taste and sight. As we get older, the effort needed seems to be greater or at least require more creativity for that female libido.
Pharmaceutical companies have cornered the market on the male libido with Viagra, Cialis and Levitra. As if men needed more help. Now these same companies have designed a female Viagra so to speak. The female libido enhancement drug is called Addyi (flibanserin) (#Addyi). This is supposed to be the thrill pill for a woman. The idea behind it is for a timed stimulation so your desire for your partner is back.
Addyi (also known as flibanserin) was developed by Sprout Pharmaceuticals which was acquired recently by Valeant. It is a non-hormonal prescription pill used to treat Hypoactive (low) Sexual Desire Disorder (HSDD) in women. HSDD is defined as reduced fantasies and desire for sexual activity that clearly distresses patients. There are several criteria needed for this female libido drug to work. First, women must not have gone through menopause. Second they have not had problems with low sexual desire in the past and have low sexual desire no matter the type of sexual activity, the situation, or the sexual partner. Now this low sexual desire can’t be due to a medical or mental health problem, problems in the relationship nor medicine or other drug use. So the drug is not just for any woman who wants to bump up their female libido for the night, these criteria has to be met.
This drug is the first of its kind to the market and the information coming out is not abundant. What we do know is that flibanserin attempts to correct an imbalance of dopamine and norepinephrine (both responsible for sexual excitement), while decreasing levels of serotonin (responsible for sexual satiety/inhibition). This is done through the central nervous system without the use of hormones. It does not increase blood flow like Viagra but rather manipulates hormones.
This FDA approved libido enhancer was supposed to be the answer for women but instead problems have come up. First and foremost is the fact that only about 10% of the women who used the pill actually benefited from it. Remember all the criteria needed for it to work? That is one of the reasons it helps only a select few. Secondly there was never a clear understanding on how the female libido actually works. There is guesswork and assumptions made based on the hormones since dopamine and norepinephrine hormones are responsible for sexual excitement. No one knows for sure how it works and how much is needed.
Next up are the side effects associated with taking this daily pill. There is a larger possibility of low blood pressure and fainting when using the Addyi libido pill for women. That can create instances of injury and even death. Also add to the list nausea, sleepiness and dizziness and I am sure that is not what the partner wanted. The largest red flag comes from the fact that you can’t consume alcohol while taking the female libido enhancer. I know plenty of women who come home from work tired and drink a nice cold glass of pinot grigio to relax. Add some cheese, soft music and a soft back massage and I think you have the beginnings of warming up the female libido.
So with this information, the FDA decided to issue a black box warning for healthcare professionals to make sure the patients can abstain from alcohol. Add that the FDA is requiring the manufacturer to conduct additional post-marketing studies to better define the interaction between flibanserin and alcohol into the mix and you wonder why it was ever approved. That is where the controversy lies. This drug was under development before and rejected twice. Now its approved with a huge black label and only certain doctors can prescribe it. So we all know what also happens to the cost when only a select few can take it. The price goes way up and reaches near $800 a month to use it. That is a lot of wine if your insurance company doesn’t cover it.
The next step is kind of tricky. The FDA has required Valeant to conduct three additional studies on how the drug interacts with alcohol when women are drinking. This area was not studied on women but rather on mostly men during Addyi’s development. If you are wondering why, it is because the initial development was designed for men. The approval process had its doubts on the enhancing female libido drug with some reviewers actually saying that the benefits didn’t outweigh the risks. One of the steps taken to minimize this criticism is for women to sign an agreement acknowledging the drug’s risks before being able to use the female libido drug.
Have you used Addyi?