Mais Saúde

The new “Female Viagra”: questions and answers

Last week press reports hailed the arrival of a new “Female Viagra”. The drug is flibanserin, just approved by the USA Food and Drug Administration (FDA) While not yet available in Brazil, let’s answer some questions about this new drug.

Is it really a “Female Viagra”?

No. The only similarity is that it is a drug meant to improve sexual functioning. Viagra does nothing to boost libido, it only helps men have a better erection. Flibanserin, on the other hand, only works on the libido.

Who might be helped by this medication?

It will be marketed to women with “Hypoactive Sexual Desire Disorder”—women who are experiencing emotional distress due to a lowered sexual drive.

Apparently this drug took many years to be approved. Why?

In 2010 and again in 2013, the FDA refused to approve the medication, since the clinical testing submitted by the pharmaceutical company did not show a significant benefit, and the side effects were too great. After 2013, the company launched an expensive public relations campaign, and presented new data which showed the drug worked (though only mildly), so the drug was approved.

Why was this drug so controversial?

The public relations campaign employed many women writing letters and petitions to the FDA, that they wanted some medication that would help women. One argument was that the FDA was not being fair to women, since the FDA had approved Viagra and other medications for men, but nothing for women. The FDA said that is not true; that they had rejected flibanserin since it was not effective enough, and the side effect profile was too high. The esteemed National Women’s Health Network, for example, noted that “Flibanserin offers too little efficacy at too high a price to pay for our safety”, and recommended the FDA not approve the drug.

How effective is Addyi?

Considering all the human trials, women taking the drug noted an increase of ½ to 1 additional satisfying sexual event per month, compared with women taking a placebo pill. In general, it appears that only about 10% of women taking the drug note a very significant improvement.

How does the pill work?

The drug seems to help regulate and normalize three neurotransmitters of the brain—dopamine, noradrenaline, and serotonin. This is similar to how anti-depressants work.

What are the side effects?

The most common side effects, usually mild, are dizziness, nausea, and sleepiness. The FDA however is concerned about the less common but more severe risks of fainting and severely lowered blood pressure. The recent FDA approval included the unusual requirement that any doctor prescribing flibanserin must pass an online certification to ensure they know the risks. Women must be told that they cannot drink alcohol while on this medication.

Is this drug worthwhile for women with a low sex drive?

It will be some time before this drug is approved for Brazil, which may be a good thing, as it gives us time to see if the drug is worthwhile. In the long run, drugs better than flibanserin will be developed. In the meantime, a holistic approach may be wise, including talking to your gynecologist and a mental health professional.

Should you wish to find a doctor, of any specialty, anywhere in Brazil, visit our website: www.procuramed.com

See also in ProcuraMed:

Exercise before sexual activity can diminish anti-depressant side effects

5 curiosities about sex in middle age and beyond

The new “Female Viagra”: questions and answers was last modified: May 20th, 2016 by

Esta postagem também está disponível em: Portuguese (Brazil)