ADDYI is the “Viagra for women” –or so they say. The FDA recently approved Addyi (Flibanserin) for treatment of hypoactive sexual desire disorder in premenopausal women. It is estimated that 40-50 percent of women have some sort of sexual dysfunction and this is the first medication the FDA has approved for this type of issue. Addyi is actually a failed antidepressant and acts on neurotransmitter receptors in the brain, although the exact mechanism of action is unknown.
There are, however, serious side effects that patients need to be aware of before they take this medication. Addyi, which is a daily medication, has a very serious interaction with alcohol. Thus, abstaining from alcohol during the duration of treatment is required. Secondly, it can cause severely low blood pressure (hypotension) and loss of consciousness (syncope or fainting). Both of these effects are worsened with alcohol use or when Addyi is taken with certain medications (namely Diflucan, which is used to treat yeast infections). The more common side effects include dizziness, sleepiness, nausea, fatigue, insomnia and dry mouth.
Is Addyi worth the risk? The studies have shown that women taking Addyi had an increase of around one satisfying sexual event per month. Overall, only 10 percent of women taking the medication reported an improvement in satisfying sexual events or sexual desire.
So, it would appear that Addyi is clearly not the female equivalent of Viagra.
- Addyi must be taken daily, whereas Viagra is taken on an as needed basis
- Viagra increases blood flow to the penis while Addyi works on receptors in the brain
- Viagra is over 80 percent effective and Addyi only 10 percent
- Viagra has an immediate effect whereas Addyi must be taken for 8 weeks before any changes are noted.
Despite the hype surrounding this drug, Addyi is not particularly effective. It has considerable side effects associated with it and there is no long-term data about the effectiveness or risks. While it’s promising that pharmaceutical companies are investigating treatments for female sexual dysfunction, it appears women will have to wait a bit longer for their Viagra.