,

From Online Doctors To Pharmaceutical Scandal: “Female Viagra” Is Back And So Is The Drama

After years of controversy and a heated pharmaceutical scandal, the touted “female Viagra” drug is back on the market and hitting the shelves – this time digitally. Addyi (pronounced add-ee) is the brand name for Flibanserin, the first prescription medication ever approved by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to resurrect a woman’s low libido.

To call it “Viagra” is technically a misnomer; erectile dysfunction drugs improve a man’s erection by facilitating blood flow to the penis in order to physically help him get an erection. Addyi, on the other hand, doesn’t stimulate a physical response in the sex organs. Instead, it works to restore sexual desire in the 10 percent of women suffering from sexual interest/arousal disorder (previously classified as hypoactive sexual desire disorder [HSDD]).

Neuroimaging of patients with sexual interest/arousal disorder show different responses in the brain to erotic stimuli than those without. Flibanserin works like an anti-depressant to address those differences by altering inhibitory chemicals in the brain (serotonin) and excitatory ones (dopamine and norepinephrine) to reduce inhibitions.

If it sounds too good to be true, that’s because it sort of is. Addyi has to be taken every day before bed to reduce the high risk of fainting, nausea, and dizziness. Since you can’t drink alcohol while on it, the FDA has also classified it as an antipsychotic and given it the agency’s strictest “boxed” warning.

Whether or not Addyi is really all that effective is also up for debate. According to manufacturers, about 40 percent of women responded to the drug for an increase of one sexual encounter per month. In one trial, women who took the drug had an average of 4.4 “satisfying sexual experiences” a month versus 3.7 women on the placebo, and 2.7 before the trial began.

Proponents of the drug say it addresses the concerns of women who feel their sexual needs have generally been dismissed. Others, however, say sexual expectations, wants, and needs vary between women and throughout their lifetime, and women shouldn’t feel ashamed of their sex drive or lack thereof.

Addyi first hit the market in 2015 after two years of opposition and two rejections by the FDA. Although the third time was a charm, an editorial accompanying a review of the drug claimed the agency “overrode” scientists’ evaluations that the drug shouldn’t be approved, following an “alarming” study on the drug’s interactions. Shortly after, Valeant Pharmaceuticals were hit with a distribution scandal alleging fraud and price gouging, among other things.  

Regardless, the drug will now be available online at half the previous cost. For a maximum $99 out-of-pocket expense, women can consult with a certified doctor via the company’s website and have their pink-boxed prescription delivered right to their doorstep.

What do you think?

0 points
Upvote Downvote

Total votes: 0

Upvotes: 0

Upvotes percentage: 0.000000%

Downvotes: 0

Downvotes percentage: 0.000000%