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December 17, 2015

Should Woman Boost Their Libido with Addyi?

AddyiIs The Pink Pill Right For You?

This is my holiday present article for women about the pink pill called Addyi used to enhance sexual desire in women as such desire is probably first and foremost on women’s minds in between decorating the house  for the holidays, making turkey for Thanksgiving, and buying presents for whatever winter holiday they celebrate, right?

What’s the difference between 598,452 and 227 besides the obvious answer of 598,225?  In case your stumped I’ll tell you. That’s the difference in the number of men (598,452) who obtained a prescription for Viagra the first month it went on the market and the number of women (227) who received a prescription for Addyi (flibanserin) the first FDA approved libido enhancing drug for women its first month on the market.

That’s probably all you need to know about the difference between men and women. Right? Not exactly. There are reasons why the demand for Addyi being touted as the pink pill has been so poor compared to that of Viagra or Cialis.

First, Viagra went on the market with much fanfare and hoopla. There has not been much hoopla for the pink pill. In fact, many of you are probably just hearing about Addyi for the first time. Viagra sounds like the name of the drug that does what it is supposed to do. Addyi? You may not even know how you pronounce it (add-e).

Second, Addyi only provides meaningful help for about 10% more than a placebo did in clinical trials. Third, and this seems to be a big deterrent for women, is that women are instructed to refrain from alcohol consumption while taking Addyi. Addyi can have some serious side effects.

Addyi can lower blood pressure significantly if taken with alcohol potentially leading to fainting, and it can cause extreme sleepiness. It is recommended that it being taken at night to minimize low blood pressure effects during the day.

Fourth, unlike Viagra, Cialis, Levitra, and Stendra for men, Addyi doesn’t provide a quick response and is designed to be taken everyday rather than when needed or on demand as many of the male ED drugs.

Fifth, Addyi was originally developed as antidepressant and works by raising serotonin and dopamine levels. It wasn’t a very effective antidepressant but one side effect was increased sexual desire. It works by another mechanism and does not improve blood flow to the genitalia like ED drugs.

It must be the love hormoneSixth, in order to prescribe Addyi physicians must be certified by taking an online course. Thus far only 5,600 physicians have been certified or one percent of those who are likely to prescribe it – primary care physicians and obstetricians-gynecologists.

Physician certification was mandated by the FDA, which previously twice rejected approval of Addyi, to ensure that physicians understand the risks and appropriately counsel patients about them.

Finally, it’s not cheap at $26 a pill which comes to $780 a month, though its manufacturer, Sprout a division of Valeant Pharmaceuticals International, offers an assistance program in which it can be obtained for as low as $20 a month if one qualifies for the program.

So there are a lot of forces working against the commercial success of Addyi.

Indications for Addyi

Indications for Addyi differ from its male counterparts. It is indicated for premenopausal women who suffer from hypoactive sexual desire disorder (HSDD) not due to a psychiatric problem or co-existing medical problem, and not related to a relationship problem, or the effects of medications or drugs. It is estimated that 10% of women have HSDD not explained by these other factors.

It is not indicated for postmenopausal women or to enhance sexual performance. It is used to increase sexual desire.

ED drugs can be used by men of all ages and are meant to improve sexual performance creating a greater demand for ED medications.. Therefore, the overall female market for Addyi is much smaller than the male market is for erectile dysfunction drugs and a main factor in its less than robust launch of the drug.

For women there are other alternatives to enhance sexual desire with bioidentical hormone replacement being the best and safest option.



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Dr. Joe Jacko

Dr. Joe is board certified in internal medicine and sports medicine with additional training in hormone replacement therapy and regenerative medicine. He has trained or practiced at leading institutions including the Hughston Clinic, Cooper Clinic, Steadman-Hawkins Clinic of the Carolinas, and Cenegenics. He currently practices in Columbus, Ohio at Grandview Primary Care. Read more about Dr. Joe Jacko

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