What is sexual dysfunction?

Denise Hooks-Anderson, M.D. | 9/28/2015, 11 a.m.
My old school, Southern-bred mother was appalled to learn that my then 2-year-old used words like vagina and penis.
Denise Hooks-Anderson, M.D.

— By now, many of you have been listening to all of the dialogue about the “female Viagra” pill, flibanserin, recently approved by the FDA for premenopausal women with sexual dysfunction. However, the first misconception to correct is that flibanserin is NOT Viagra and its exact mechanism of action is unknown, but it is believed to correct an imbalance of a chemical in the brain which is responsible for sexual desire.

Per the manufacturer, Addyi, the brand name for flibanserin, is billed to be a remedy for women with hypoactive sexual desire disorder. The drug’s effectiveness ranges anywhere from 8 to 13 percent. Side effects include low blood pressure, dizziness and fainting. Furthermore, many of these side effects are exacerbated by alcohol thereby prompting the FDA to require a boxed warning label inside the package advising against alcohol use while on the medication.

This is not the first time this drug has attempted FDA approval and with such a low efficacy rate it makes you wonder why it was approved. Only certified pharmacies and providers will have access to this medication, but only after special training has been completed.

Therefore, my excitement for a substantial therapeutic option for women was slightly premature. Again, no pun intended. Both providers and patients will have to wait and see if Addyi is all that it is cracked up to be.

Yours in Service,

Denise Hooks-Anderson, M.D.

Assistant Professor

SLUCare Family Medicine