Let’s Talk About the ‘Female Viagra’

Let’s Talk About the ‘Female Viagra’

Up to 40% of women admit to having sexual concerns, including trouble getting aroused. 

And yet, despite the popularity of male enhancement products like Viagra and Cialis, there were no FDA-approved female equivalents until recently.

Consider this: Viagra was approved by the FDA in 1998 and Cialis was approved in 2008. Addyi (filbanserin), the first drug designed to treat low libido in women, was approved by the FDA in 2015. A second drug, Vyleesi (bremelanotide), was approved in 2019. 

Initially designed as an anti-depressant, Addyi is a daily, non-hormonal multifunctional serotonin agonist antagonist (MSAA) sold in tablet form.

“From the neck down my body responds just fine, but from the head up, well for years people have been telling women it’s all in our heads and I guess it turns out for some women it really is,” says Amanda Parrish, a participant in the first clinical trial for Addyi. 

While it is often described as the ‘female Viagra,’ Addyi is actually nothing like Viagra. Addyi interacts with the chemicals in the brain that impact sexual response, while Viagra simply creates an erection.

“[Addyi] certainly won’t at all be the panacea that Viagra is at all,” says Dr. Laura Berman, a gynecologist who worked on the Addyi clinical trials. “It’s not going to have the same impact for the proportion of women as Viagra does for men.” 

The biggest downside to Addyi is that it can create serious side effects when taken in conjunction with alcohol.

Vyleesi is a synthetic hormone that also targets the parts of the brain involved in sexual response. Unlike Addyi, Vyleesi is sold in a form similar to the EpiPen and is designed to be self-administered to the abdomen or thigh roughly 45 minutes before sexual intimacy.

Vyleesi should be taken no more than once per 24 hours and no more than eight times in one month.

Addyi and Vyleesi are both are designed to treat hypoactive sexual desire disorder (HSDD), a condition in which women lose interest in sex and experience significant distress and relationship troubles as a result. Believe it or not, HSDD is actually one of the most common female sexual health complaints.

“It’s not just about low sexual desire, but about how it impacts patients’ relationships and quality of life,” says Julie Krop, chief medical officer for AMAG Pharmaceuticals, the company that makes Vyleesi. “These women are really suffering.” 

Because the female libido is so complicated, a loss of interest in sex can be the result of pretty much anything; psychological, physiological, or external factors. Two of the most common reasons behind low libido are health struggles (including medication and its side effects) and stress.

Remember: There is no shame in speaking up about HSDD or seeking medical or psychological help to restore your libido. If you want to rekindle that spark, you can bet your partner does too.

A final note: Studies suggest that exercise, body image, and overall well-being have a larger effect on the female libido than any medication. If you’re suffering from low libido, try upping your exercise, making positive changes in your life, spending quality time with your partner, and decreasing stress.

 

Let me know in the comments section below what you think about ‘female Viagra’ and what strategies have worked for you to help restore lost libido.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Older Post Newer Post

Leave a comment