Sex Drug for Women

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Culture Staff Writer | Grace Hermanns | gh296311@ohio.edu

Addyi, said to be the female Viagra, will make its grand debut on October 17, 2015. Developed by Sprout Pharmaceuticals and approved by the FDA, the “little pink pill” is slated to help pre-menopausal women with hypoactive sexual desire disorder, or HSDD, and who can find no other cause for their low libido. Many are championing the release of Addyi, which has previously failed twice to get FDA approval. While some see it as a win for women’s heath, skeptics question the efficacy. The question on some people’s minds is, how can this new pill provide a quick fix for something that is really quite complicated: sexual desire?

According to Sprout Pharmaceuticals, 1 in 10 women is affected by HSDD in the United States.

The 100 milligram pill is recommended for pre-menopausal women with hypoactive sexual desire disorder and will be available by prescription on October 17. Source: Sprout
The 100 milligram pill is recommended for pre-menopausal women with hypoactive sexual desire disorder and will be available by prescription on October 17. Source: Sprout

A dose of 100 milligrams right before bedtime is recommended for those pre-menopausal women on the medication. Taking the pill before going to bed could ease some of the noted side effects such as dizziness, sleepiness, nausea and fatigue, said Anita Clayton, a psychiatrist and consultant for Sprout Pharmaceuticals. More serious side effects, such as a dangerous drop in blood pressure, come when mixing the medication with alcohol. For this reason, physicians need a special certification to prescribe Addyi.

Clinical trials were run in 2012 and 1,227 women with HSDD were given the recommended dosage at bedtime. The results showed an improvement in sexual desire, but the reality only equaled to about one more satisfying sexual encounter per month.

Women in the trial also reported a 10 percent increase in total number of sexual thoughts.

Sarah Jenkins, program coordinator for the Women’s Center in Ohio University’s Baker Center, said, “I do believe that our society constructs rigid gender roles which view women as less desirous of sex than men.”

So is society trying to overhaul sexual desire in women with a magic fix? Michael Ingber, a physician at The Center for Specialized Women’s Health in New Jersey, thinks not.

“Those of us who are experts in the field of sexual medicine are excited to be able to provide this drug,” said Ingber.

He points out that the drug should not be comparable to the male Viagra. Viagra works physiologically to produce an erection for a male. Addyi will affect a woman’s mood, rather than any physiological process. Ingber said, “Women taking this drug will not be transformed into instant nymphomaniacs. Rather, it will provide an increased level of desire in women that should be noticeable.”

But prescriptions cannot be handed out to just anybody and it’s likely that your primary physician will ask many questions before writing you a prescription. He/she might look at the hormones in birth control, advise a diet change, suggest an increased workout regimen or urge putting more effort into romantic relationships.

After all other options have been exhausted, the pill can come into play.

Abby Yancey, associate professor of pharmacy practice at St. Louis College of Pharmacy, said that she “wants [her] patients to have the whole picture so they can make an informed decision before taking any medication.”

According to a data analysis done by Treato on 700 participants, 80 percent of female participants would be open to taking a daily pill that improves sex drive. Along with that, the availability of the drug may influence a woman to open up with her doctor about sexual problems for the first time.

While there may never be a magical solution for the enormously emotional process of desiring someone, the fact remains that many women are excited for this advancement.

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