Drugs for Women’s Low Libido Don’t Satisfy

February 24, 2016 (Updated: August 16, 2018)
Lily Moran

I’m not sure if you’ve heard, but a controversial new medicine was just approved by the FDA. The drug, which will be called Addyi, is being dubbed the female Viagra.

But, if you’ve got any of the problems that Addyi would treat, I’ve got much better advice for you at the end of today’s article.

But first, what is Addyi? And who should use it?

HSDD, equality, and the FDA

Addyi is a drug designed to treat HSDD—hypoactive sexual desire disorder.

Basically, HSDD is when suffers from distressingly low libido before menopause. (Some women naturally find their libido lessens after menopause.)

HSDD is an overarching lack of interest in sex. It often is accompanied by a lack of sexual pleasure as well. And, to qualify clinically, it has to persist for at least six uninterrupted months.

HSDD is a controversial diagnosis. While it appears in official diagnostic handbooks, a number of doctors and patients believe that HSDD isn’t a condition, but rather a suite of symptoms that have different root causes.

Regardless of the whys, Addyi is supposed to treat HSDD—or at least the symptoms associated with it.

That’s why all this talk of female Viagra is misplaced. Viagra acts physiologically, upon the body, increasing blood flow. Addyi acts on the chemistry of the mind. These are very different types of drugs.

What’s more, they are taken in entirely different ways. Viagra is fast-acting—you take it just prior to sex.

Addyi, on the other hand, needs to be taken daily. It will take about a month before it starts to have any effect, and to see any benefit, you must continue to take it for months, or years.

In two clinical trials, 45% and 39% of women taking Addyi reported feeling benefits. That sounds pretty good—until you see that the control group, taking a placebo, had 35% and 27% reporting benefits.

Plus, after four weeks of taking the medicine, the first two trials found that women who saw benefits averaged one more sexually pleasurable encounter per month. This isn’t a cure-all.

A third trial, with different wording in the questionnaires, found more promising results. I tend to trust the original studies, but you are welcome to take the sunnier view.

Regardless of benefits, there is no doubt that Addyi is a powerful drug, with significant side effects.

It causes low blood pressure, fainting, and drowsiness. 28.6% of study participants reported adverse effects, compared to 9.4% taking the placebo.

In other words, you’re much more likely to have an unwanted side effect, compared to the desired increase in libido.

In addition, Addyi has a very adverse effect when taken with alcohol. Since it must be taken daily, that basically means patients have to completely abstain from alcohol in order to qualify for a prescription.

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Chronic Inflammation Decoded

Addyi—also known as flibanserin—failed to get past the FDA twice. In 2009 it was rejected for ineffectiveness, while in 2013 it was rejected for safety reasons.

In 2015, thanks to a large push from some women’s organizations under the banner Even The Score, the drug finally passed.

Those on the pro side of the debate argued the FDA was showing gender bias, approving a number of drugs for men like Viagra, while not approving anything equivalent for females.

However, plenty of other women’s organizations doubt the motives of Even The Score. As reported in the New York Times, the effort was brought together by a consultant for Addyi’s pharmaceutical company, and some activists feel the gender issue was exploited in order to push the drug through the FDA.

However you feel about the process, I can promise you one thing: I won’t be prescribing Addyi.

First, all prescribing doctors need to get training and certification—something I won’t do for a drug I don’t trust.

I also am very wary about the potential risks. The side effects are significant, and we already know alcohol, and some other prescription drugs, don’t play well with Addyi.

In addition, all the clinical trials were conducted on healthy women. As the drug spreads into the population at large, there’s a risk that more severe complications will arise.

Finally, I just don’t think that the benefits are worth it. Not when I see similar—or better— results with safer, more natural treatments.

Take Nature’s prescription

Addyi uses a weak, conventional method of attacking HSDD—treating the symptom, instead of the cause.

Although there are other potential physiological and psychological causes, HSDD and other libido-related problems typically come down to one thing: Hormones.

When your hormones are out of whack, it affects your mood. Testosterone—which is found in everyone, not just men—is the primary hormone responsible for sexual desire.

However, in your adrenal glands alone, there are over 100 other hormones that can affect your mood, your energy, and your stress levels. Imbalance in any or all of those can combine to cause libido problems.

Forget about Addyi—accept Mother Nature’s prescription instead. Your naturally-produced hormones are the most effective drugs in the world—specially tailored to your body and your needs.

If you are suffering from HSDD, see a doctor to test your hormone levels. Specifically, you want to see if your adrenal hormones are properly aligned.

Odds are very good they aren’t. At that point, you’ll want to talk to an endocrinologist about the best course of action—up to and including taking hormone supplements to correct your testosterone or other adrenal hormone levels.

However, even before seeing a doctor, improving your diet and exercising are the best ways to wake up your adrenal glands, and get your hormones back in balance.

By going to the root cause of your problems—no matter what that may be—you stand a much better chance of solving your issues. And you’ll do it safely and effectively.


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