Female Viagra’, Addyi Has Women All Revved Up

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Women everywhere are tickled pink by the little pink pill.
A day after the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved Addyi, the first treatment for women with hypoactive sexual desire disorder (HSDD), prospective patients were counting down the days until the drug goes on sale October 17.

“You can bet I’ll have an appointment made a week before that so I’m ready to get a prescription,” says Amanda Parrish, a 52-year-old nonprofit founder from Nashville who participated in the drug’s clinical trial five years ago.
Parrish is part of the 10 per cent of women in the US who suffer from HSDD, characterised by an abrupt and distressing end to sexual desire. In 2008, she had been dating her now-husband for four years when “something changed,” she said.

“I suddenly felt like one of those women who would pretend to be asleep when he was coming to bed,” she recalls.

The couple, who did not yet live together, went from having sex six times a month to twice a month.

Her doctor said there was nothing wrong with her — that this just happens with age — and recommended she gets a vibrator. But Parrish wasn’t satisfied.

When she saw a brochure announcing the clinical trial of flibanserin — Addyi’s generic name — she signed up immediately. After being diagnosed with HSDD, she was given the little pink pill. In two weeks, it worked.

“All of a sudden I realised I was getting a little flutter,” she recalled.

That’s a measure of success, according to Dr. Anita Clayton, a psychiatrist with the University of Virginia School of Medicine in Charlottesville. She has been trying to get Addyi, manufactured by Sprout Pharmaceuticals, FDA-approved since 2003.

“You can’t see (female) desire,” she says. “It’s not like an erection where it’s obvious. It’s a hard concept to articulate.”

But she and her colleagues found a way to do so: They created a questionnaire that helps women determine if their low libido is caused by another stressor — a recent life change, another medication, a relationship problem — or HSDD.
After testing, they found that the drug gave women one “sexually satisfying encounter” every month.

It does so differently than drugs that restore a man’s arousal, she said. Erectile dysfunction drugs send blood to the penis, resulting in an erection. But Addyi works in the brain, not the genitals, rebalancing chemicals called neurotransmitters that influence a woman’s desire.

And it’s not something you can just pop when you want to feel frisky, like men can do with Viagra, Cialis or similar drugs: Patients must take Addyi every day at bedtime to fully feel the effects.

Whereas Viagra was given a six-month, fast-tracked approval by the FDA, Addyi’s road to victory was long and winding, partly because female desire is difficult to measure, and also due to side effects like nausea, drowsiness, dizziness and fainting.

Another prospective patient says she’d rather deal with those side effects than low libido, which she noticed after having her first child.

“(There are) side effects of Viagra and Cialis and I can’t try something?” recalled Katherine Campbell, a 31-year-old stay-at-home mom from Indianapolis. “I can deal with nausea, I’ve been pregnant twice.”

Campbell — who was having sex seven times a week before her desire dropped off completely — knew there had to be a better option after her doctor prescribed her an antidepressant, even though she wasn’t depressed.

“I was shocked doctors had nothing to treat me so they’re just throwing stuff at me,” she recalled. “That was an eye-opener that got me so passionate about helping this drug get approved.”

Critics of the drug say it’s dangerous: The box carries the most severe warning, indicating that drinking while on it can cause fainting and low blood pressure.
The Public Citizen’s Health Research Group, a lobbying group, calls Addyi’s approval “a grave mistake”.

“Unfortunately, we haven’t heard the last of this drug,” said Dr. Sidney Wolfe, founder and senior adviser of Public Citizen’s Health Research Group. “Expect future news to include stories of women who are harmed needlessly by flibanserin and the eventual agency call for the manufacturer to pull it from pharmacy shelves.”

Opponents said the benefits — that one “sexually satisfying encounter” per month — don’t outweigh the risks.

But tired of “obligatory sex” with her husband, Campbell says she’s eager to get her prescription.

“Desire isn’t just having sex,” she says. “Maybe I’ll have fantasies again. I don’t watch porn. I don’t get aroused when I think about other men. I don’t even have a womanly confidence about myself like I used to. (This pill) is as important to me as an individual as it is for me in a relationship.”

Parrish said she was waiting by her computer all day Tuesday for the news to break. When she saw that the drug passed, she sent her husband a saucy text message:

“It’s gonna be a great winter,” she wrote, “so cozy up, cowboy.”

Culled from: http://www.thisdaylive.com/articles/female-viagra-addyi-has-women-all-revved-up/218060/

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