Setting the record straight – Addyi “Female Viagra”

Everyone has seen the catchy headlines “Female Viagra pill approved by US authorities” – ABC news, “Female Viagra – Libido pill Addyi approved by FDA”- BBC news, “FDA Approves Addyi, a libido pill for women” – The New York Times. But this little pink pill does a lot more than many people realise..

What you have read in the news.. (If you were keeping up..)
Earlier last month the drug Fliberanserin otherwise know as “addyi” (pronounced ad-ee) was approved by the US Food and Drug Association (FDA). This little pink pill dubbed as “female Viagra” by numerous news outlets has caused a stir among scientists and feminists alike.

News outlets are twisting the facts for gullible readers telling them what they want to hear, they read the title “female Viagra” and no more allowing readers to make an uneducated assumption and opinion without understanding all of the facts.

What people don’t understand is that these large corporations are actually failing at being a media outlet. They are not informing the public but being biased and ignorant. Treating this issue like a sales promotion rather then a life threatening situation. That’s why I am here to set the record straight.

What is it?

Addyi scientifically is nothing like Viagra. Viagra (sildenafil citrate) is often used in those men suffering from erectile dysfunction it works to increase blood flow and circulation to the penis, therefore causing an erection after sexual stimulation. It is estimated that one in five Australian men over 40 years old have difficulties getting or keeping an erection.

Addyi does not control circulation, on the other hand it targets the neurotransmitters in the brain to boost the chemicals responsible for a normal sex drive. The drug restores the balance of the neurotransmitters linked to sexual excitements, dopamine and norepinephrine. Therefore, is not similar to Viagra in anyway.

Why you need it?

The drug has been designed to give women a sex drive who have little to no interest in sex otherwise known as Hypoactive Sexual Desire Disorder (HSDD). HSDD is an “ongoing lack of interest in sex” in women this is often caused by hormonal changes or surgery or other factors for example depression, low self-esteem or previous sexual abuse. It is estimated that 7% of US women aged 20-49 suffer from thiscondition. Addyi will not be effective in women without HSDD.

Source: yourtango.com
As your body ages the number of hormones your body produces decreases. The first hormone to go is progesterone and DHEA followed by testosterone and oestrogen. Additionally, an overly stressful life leads to increased decomposition rate of such sex hormones early on.

The drug is only effective in those suffering from HSDD as the neurotransmitters will not be stimulated in other women. In HSDD suffers of those tested the drug has only been proven effective in 43-60% of cases. So if you do the maths if 7% of the U.S. population has the disease and if all sufferers used Addyi only 3% of the population would benefit. So you does this have the whole world talking?

What the scientists have to say…

So why has the approval of this drug in the US caused such a stir? Addyi has actually been rejected by the FDA in the past, two times (2010 and 2013). The reason for the drugs previous rejections was due to unfavourable results during testing and serious side effects for example nausea, fainting, dizziness and sleepiness.

Additionally, the increase in neurotransmitters which regulate our sexual hormones in conjunction with alcohol is expected to have potentially dangerous effects, such as extremely lowered blood pressure and fainting. To make matters worse Addyi has not been scientifically tested on animals or humans for long term effects and efficacy.

Is it only for women in the United States?
It is expected that the approval of Addyi in the United States will be followed by other nations. Within hours of Addyi’s approval Sprout Pharmaceuticals sold the drug for just over $1 billion US by Valeant Pharmaceuticals International. The drug is expected to go on the market October 17th, 2015 for $400US for 30 pills that’s $13 a pill!

Source: abc.net.au
Although, some experts are saying that Addyi is “more likely to help build a market for better future rival drugs than achieve the sales seen (in)… the famous little blue pill for men.” Predicted sales for the first year are at US $100 million, wereas Pfizer’s erectile dysfunction drug earns US $1.3 billion in annual sales. Speculators say that it will be difficult for health organisations to avoid paying for Addyi as they front the cost from Viagra.

What the feminists have to say..

And don’t they have a lot to say as per usual…. Some women are calling Addyi “the biggest breakthrough for women’s sexual health since the pill,” Sally Greenberg, executive director of the National Consumers League. As if the approval of the drug is the tool to encouraging women to talk about their sexual health problems for the first time, similar to in 1998 when Viagra allowed men to talk of erectile dysfunction. Organizations such as “Even The Score” have been formed to campaign for women’s sexual health equality. Did any of these organizations read any of the potential negative effects of the drug? Are they so caught up on man hating that they forgot to check the facts?

For those who haven’t realized we are not still living in the 1950’s, discussions surrounding women’s health is not new. Sexually Transmitted Disease (STD) preventative campaigns and the oral contraceptive pill have encouraged women to talk freely about sex. I am sorry feminists but Addyi is not reinventing the wheel or changing social standards for women.

I understand that support for women is essential but the approval of this drug which I shall not refer to as “Female Viagra” is not going to “even the score” to women’s sexual liberation. Are we back at school saying “well he has got one, so why don’t I get one?” Well no, women in this case if you get one it is potentially life threatening.

Originally published on The Isthmus

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