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FDA approves so-called 'female Viagra'

By
Danielle Haynes
A spilled bottle of pills. Photo by chuck stock/Shutterstock
A spilled bottle of pills. Photo by chuck stock/Shutterstock

WASHINGTON, Aug. 18 (UPI) -- The female equivalent of the little blue pill will soon be available at the pharmacy counter after the U.S. Food and Drug Administration on Tuesday approved the use of Addyi to treat a lack of sexual desire in women.

The so-called "female Viagra" has been under consideration by the agency for months. Prior to Tuesday, there was no medication on the market to treat sexual disorder in premenopausal women.

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"Today's approval provides women distressed by their low sexual desire with an approved treatment option," said Janet Woodcock, director of the FDA's Center for Drug Evaluation and Research. "The FDA strives to protect and advance the health of women, and we are committed to supporting the development of safe and effective treatments for female sexual dysfunction."

The FDA's approval of the drug -- though expected -- was considered a boon for groups that campaigned for it. Advocates said that while men's sexual needs have been addressed with products like Viagra and Cialis, women's libidos have largely been ignored.

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"This is the biggest breakthrough for women's sexual health since the pill," Sally Greenberg, executive director of the National Consumers League, told The New York Times.

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The drug, Addyi, also known by the generic name of flibanserin, is produced by Sprout Pharmaceuticals. The FDA warned of series side effects, including low blood pressure, fainting, nausea, dizziness and sleepiness.

"Because of a potentially serious interaction with alcohol, treatment with Addyi will only be available through certified health care professionals and certified pharmacies," Woodcock said. "Patients and prescribers should fully understand the risks associated with the use of Addyi before considering treatment."

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