“Does Addyi Really Work?”
Many women have spent years waiting for a drug to address their female libido problems and sexual dysfunctions. For over a decade men have had not just one choice – but several options for drugs to address male sexual problems. Viagra, Cialis, Levitra………all have been available for years, and men have spent billions of dollars buying these drugs to help boost their sexual performance.
For years the major drug makers like Pfizer, Merck, and Bayer were in a race to come up with the world’s first approved treatment for female sexual dsyfunction. With 26 approved treatments for male sexual dysfunction – and zero for women – all the pharmaceutical companies know there were billions of dollars to be made for whoever could come up with the first treatment for women.
However after years of unsuccessful attempts and FDA rejections – most of the major players simply gave up on finding an effective drug to combat female libido problems. One company that didn’t give up was Sprout Pharmaceuticals. After Flibanserin was rejected by the FDA in 2010, the company bought the drug from a German drug-maker called Boehringer – and tried again to get the drug approved.
After Sprout Pharmaceuticals bought Flibanserin, they tried once again to get Flibanserin approved, and once again the FDA rejected the drug on the basis that its effectiveness had not been demonstrated – and citing safety concerns. Finally, in 2015 – after heavy lobbying Flibanserin was conditionally approved by the FDA and the drug (since named Addyi) – is slated to go on sale in the fall of 2015.
“Will Addyi Work For Me?”
Will Addyi work for you? It’s hard to say at this point – but the main reason that Flibanserin was rejected by the FDA initially is that the drug’s effectiveness is marginal at best. According to the documents released in conjunction with the advisory panel’s June meeting, three studies that compared Addyi with a placebo found that women using the drug had a median of 0.5 or 1.0 more satisfying sexual events a month, depending on the study. The median number of satisfactory sexual experiences each month before the drug test was two or three.
“To have any chance of benefit from this drug, women are going to have to take it every day for months on end, even years,” says Cindy Pearson of the National Women’s Health Network. “We just don’t know what the long-term effects will be of changing brain chemistry in this way.”
Some women faint when they take it. Others wake up so groggy the morning after it could be dangerous for them to drive to work. And there could be long-term risks from taking a psychoactive drug daily for years. Addyi works by altering the levels of three important neurotransmitters — norepinephrine, serotonin and dopamine.
In addition, some say the campaign to win approval for the drug has oversimplified human sexuality. They say Addyi is just another example of the pharmaceutical industry making what is normal human behavior for some people something people need to take a pill to fix. Some women naturally lose interest in sex, they say, or may lose interest in sex for other reasons, such as being in a bad relationship.
Only time will tell if Addyi will truly become a legitimate option for women as a treatment for low female libido. Some women will undoubtedly deem the risk of taking Addyi worthwhile in order to boost their sex drive – while many women clearly will not feel that the benefits outweigh the risks – especially considering that women will need to abstain from alcohol for as long as they use Addyi.
Any woman considering Addyi as a solution for their sex drive problems should have a long talk with their doctor first to see if this drug is right for them. Many women will simply be glad they finally have a choice where none existed before. Others will surely wait until something less risky and more effective comes along – in either case women are likely to have very strong feelings on the subject no matter what side of the fence they’re on.