FDA Announces Female Viagra – Sexual Dysfunction Treatment – Addyi (Flibanserin)

Female Viagra Addyi Flibanserin Memphis TN

Yesterday the FDA announced its approval of the new “Female Viagra” – Addyi (flibanserin).

The point of this blog post is to give my patients the “inside scoop” on this new modality which has been approved by the FDA to help pre-menopausal women to improve their sexual desire.

The drug works through the increase of specific neurotransmitters in the brain. There are a number of fabulous synthetic medications that work by increasing or decreasing the relative proportion of certain brain neurotransmitters. Those neurotransmitters include norepinephrine, dopamine, and serotonin.

The common medications that affect these neurotransmitters are Prozac, Wellbutrin, Zoloft, Paxil, Cymbalta, Effexor. The common conditions for which these medications are prescribed include depression, anxiety, and obsessive-compulsive disorder.

The newly FDA-approved medication, Addyi, uniquely increases the dopamine and norepinephrine neurotransmitters and has demonstrated to be effective for improving sexual dysfunction in some women. Unlike Viagra, which is taken only as needed, Addyi must be taken daily.

So, is Addyi going to “sell like hotcakes?”

Probably not.

As a general rule, these medications are very unpredictable in their side effects and in their efficacy. Sometimes it is many years before severe adverse events are identified. Addyi has demonstrated side effects including nausea, sleepiness, and sudden drops in blood pressure. I support the FDA making this drug available for our patients. But the standards for the FDA declaring a medication for a particular indication being “safe and effective” are very minimal. These drugs merely need to demonstrate a statistical advantage over placebo. I will likely prescribe Addyi when appropriate, but I will utilize the more proven options first.

There are two interventions whose effectiveness for improvement of sexual dysfunction has been strongly demonstrated. The first involves a nonsurgical five minute procedure which painlessly alters the vaginal anatomy. The second intervention naturally replaces the proper deficient female hormone (estradiol or testosterone) and can restore sexual function dramatically.

Rarely in medicine does one size fit all. This is a perfect example that demonstrates that a thoughtful physician needs many tools in his/her black bag. There’s never been a better time to seek restoration in this important area of life.