Women, at last, now have a pharmaceutical option for their sexual health. Flibanserin, also known as Addyi, was approved yesterday for immediate distribution by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
From the FDA’s press release: “Today’s approval provides women distressed by their low sexual desire with an approved treatment option,” said Janet Woodcock, M.D., director of the FDA’s Center for Drug Evaluation and Research (CDER). “The FDA strives to protect and advance the health of women, and we are committed to supporting the development of safe and effective treatments for female sexual dysfunction.”
Addyi, manufactured by Sprout Pharmaceuticals, is the first FDA-approved drug of its kind to be prescribed for premenopausal women to improve a loss of sexual desire. With a prescription, it is taken once a day and the effects begin, on average, after about two weeks of continued use.
Often considered “female-viagra,” this is an erroneous comparison. While Viagra is used to improve blood flow, addressing circulatory deficiencies, Addyi focuses on serotonin levels in the brain, affecting chemical imbalances.
The drug is not without its share of critics. Sprout launched its own “Even The Score” campaign, emphasizing that numerous male sexual dysfunction medications are widely available, while none exist for female dysfunction. The tactics used by the campaign were seen negatively by some, including pharmaceutical watchdog group PharmedOut, who perceived that the FDA was bullied into their approval of the drug.
According to the FDA, side effects include low blood pressure, and loss of consciousness, especially when combined with alcohol or medications known as CYP3A4 inhibitors. Examples of these inhibitors include anti-fungal medications, antibiotics, and anti-depressants.
What does this monumental moment for women’s health mean to you? As always, let us know in the comments below.