‘Female Viagra’ Addyi given FDA approval in America

addyiThe very first drug aimed at boosting sexual desire in women has been given a US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval.

Specifically, it will treat hypoactive sexual desire disorder (HSDD) – basically a lack of libido that leads to distress, something that is believed to affect between 5.5 million and 8.6 million women in the US.

The little pink tablets will be sold under the brand name Addyi (known generically as flibanserin), and have created plenty of controversy so far, with some questioning their efficacy, possible side-effects and just how much of a need there is for the drug which is being billed as the ‘female Viagra’.

Addyi finally managed to acquire it’s US marketing licence following a laborious third attempt, with manufacturer Sprout Pharmaceuticals hoping that the pill will work wonders for women in a similar manner to that of Pfizer’s Viagra. Viagra caused major excitement after its 1998 launch and gained plenty of celebrity endorsers – actors Michael Douglas and Jack Nicholson to name just a few.

Sprout have announced Addyi is due to be rolled out in America in mid-October, yet it remains to be seen if the company will begin to look at the UK and other European countries, with no word yet on their future plans for the drug. Before any drug is sold in Britain though, it has to receive a license from the European Medicines Agency.

The FDA’s decision to hand Addyi a US marketing licence has been met with joy by campaigners for women’s rights. Recently, the drug licensing committee sat through testimonies of women who argued that the new treatment would bring back the passion and romance of times past, however fears remain that they are simply being led up a blind alley.

For men, there is the previously mentioned famous blue diamond-shaped Viagra pill for erectile dysfunction, along with other impotence treatments such as Cialis, Levitra, Spedra, etc. and premature ejaculation treatments like Priligy and Stud 100 spray, but women have been left behind when it comes to sexual dysfunction treatments. Sprout have found success where others have failed, with Pfizer, Procter & Gamble and others all previously attempting to develop products for the treatment of low sexual desire in women.

However, there are sex and relationship therapists who believe Addyi is only moderately effective, warning it should not be used in conjunction with alcohol; “Because of a potentially serious interaction with alcohol, treatment with Addyi will only be available through certified health care professionals and certified pharmacies,” said Dr Janet Woodcock, director of the FDA’s Center for Drug Evaluation and Research. “Patients and prescribers should fully understand the risks associated with the use of Addyi before considering treatment.”

Clinical trials have previously demonstrated Addyi only gave those women that took the drug merely one extra sexually satisfying experience per month, and there are concerns the drug could cause some potentially serious side-effects.  These can include low blood pressure, nausea and fainting, but alcohol could heighten the severity of the side-effects.

The claims about Addyi being the ‘female Viagra’ could be a little misleading though…unlike Pfizer’s Viagra – which impacts bloodflow – Addyi works on brain chemicals related to mood and appetite, not to dissimilar to a class of drugs known as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRI’s), comprising of antidepressants such as Prozac.

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