After years of erectile dysfunction commercials, jokes about “little blue pills,” and serious conversations about a lack of study or medical assistance when it comes to the sexual health problems of women, a new solution could be on the way for some women. Addyi, said to enhance sexual appetite in women, was approved by the FDA in August. Known commonly as the “female Viagra,” it may be able to help women who experience some problems with sex.
As exciting as the news may be, we should all remember there’s no magical cure for a lack of desire and plenty for women to keep in mind.
1. Addyi Isn’t for Everyone
Addyi, a medication from Sprout Pharmaceuticals, is intended for a very specific group of women: premenopausal women diagnosed with hypoactive sexual disorder which is defined as lack of sexual appetite that causes emotional upset and distress. It’s not a diagnosis every woman has, meaning you can’t simply request a prescription for Addyi from your doctor and expect to have it written immediately.
2. This Isn’t “Female Viagra” – Not Even Close
If you’re hoping for the same results men get when they take their little blue pills, think again. While Viagra can be taken on demand and as needed, Addyi will need to be taken on a daily basis over time in order to be effective. While Viagra works for men almost all the time, Addyi only works about 10 percent of the time, and unlike Viagra which increases blood flow (a very good thing for sexual arousal), Addyi affects the neurotransmitters in your mind, and you’ll need to take it for about a month before you (hopefully) see any results.
3. Controversy Surrounds Addyi
Addyi was originally created to be an antidepressant, not a sexual enhancement drug. It was blocked by the Federal Drug Administration (FDA) twice before. This final approval was not a unanimous decision. Reports indicate the concerns about the drug’s effectiveness are the main problem. In some studies, Addyi was no more effective than a placebo. This issues, coupled with any cultural or societal questions about the validity of women’s sexual health (an issue all on its own) mean that Addyi doesn’t have complete support from the medical community.
4. Addyi Might Not Be Easy to Obtain
Only doctors who successfully complete and receive an online certification will be allowed to prescribe the drug. That doesn’t sound too bad until you realize that some medical professionals aren’t even sure hypoactive sexual disorder is a legitimate medical diagnosis or that sexual appetite can or should be influenced by medication. Not all medical professionals are convinced yet that the drug is even effective, making it a hard sell for many. There are also plenty of concerns about the side effects which leads to the next thing you need to know.
5. No Alcohol Allowed While You Take Addyi
The drug is meant to be taken every single day. Alcohol is prohibited while you’re taking the medication because it complicates the side effects. The most common side effects, even if you don’t drink, are faintness, dizziness, and nausea. If you already have other conditions that can make you faint, dizzy, or nauseous – like blood pressure problems – the medication could make it worse. Regardless of your medical history, alcohol will only cause even more problems. If you’re the type of person who enjoys wine at night or a girls night out over margaritas, that could be a problem.
6. It Won’t Automatically Improve An Unsatisfying Sex Life
If your low libido or lack of sexual desire is due to a bad relationship, mounting stress at home or work, or any one of the million other reasons that lead to low libido or an unsatisfying sex life, this isn’t a miracle cure. I mentioned before that Addyi isn’t the same as Viagra – for a few reasons. Addyi won’t help you become more aroused and willing to have sex regardless of what else might be contributing to your low libido. There’s a good chance you won’t simply be able to ignore any non-medical problems and still have functional sex – as some men may be able to do when they take Viagra. If you’ve got other reasons for low libido, those still have to be dealt with separately. Addyi isn’t a cure-all for all sexual woes.
There’s no way to know whether Addyi will work for you or if your lifestyle is right for it (non-drinkers still want to be careful about those side effects). Finally having a drug approved for female sexual arousal problems is a small step in the right direction. No one should consider it the Holy Grail of medications, and we should certainly stop calling it “female Viagra” but if you experience problems with sexual arousal, talk to your doctor about it.
As with any medication, make sure you learn as much as you can, ask your doctor plenty of questions, and weigh the potential risks and benefits before you decide to try it. Maybe, just maybe, this will be the first in a long line of medications specifically designed to help women’s sexual health. We can always hope.
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