The new ‘Female Viagra’ doesn’t work anything like the male counterpart

KNOXVILLE (WATE) – After the “little blue pill” for men known as Viagra came onto the scene back in 1998, women started asking for a female version to help with low sex driver.

Finally, after three attempts, the “little pink pill” was approved by the FDA in August. The drug still has not gone on the market in East Tennessee, but doctors and pharmacists are already issuing a word of warning: the drug may not be what you think.

Previous story: FDA approves female sex pill, but with safety restrictions

The pill will be sold under the name Addyi, made by Sprout Pharmaceuticals, for women with hypo-active sexual desire disorder, the most common form of sexual dysfunction in women. However, it works nothing like Viagra for men.

Addyi works on the brain by increasing the chemicals that can improve mood. Some of the side effects may make many women also think twice about Addyi.

Still1102_00002Nurse Practitioner Sherry Fetzer of Performance Medicine said some of the top risks include dizziness, nausea, headache and sleepiness. She said patients are also required to sign an agreement promising they will not have any alcohol while on the drug.

More: Common side effects of Addyi

That’s because Addyi can lower blood pressure. Combined with alcohol, the drug could make people who take the drug pass out.

Fezter warns, “you could end up with a head injury or a broken bone or something so it’s very strict that you cannot drink any alcohol with it at all.”

During trials for the drug a 54-year-old woman taking the drug died of “acute alcohol intoxication.” Her blood alcohol level was 3.5 times the legal limit, but a senior regulator at the FDA concluded that it was not possible to exclude the role of the drug in the patient’s death.

According to Fetzer, the drug is also designed for pre-menopausal women. She said it is for women who rule out all other problems, like relationship issues and medical conditions.

Addyi is also not easy to prescribe. Doctors and nurse practitioners must get a special certification first, because there are so many risks.

Still1102_00003Pharmacies must have the certification, too. WATE 6 On Your Side checked with Pharmacies in Knoxville and none of them were certified yet because the drug is so new.

David Belew of Belew Drug said he is waiting to gauge women’s interest. “Because we don’t know in three months what the need is going to be, ” Belew said, ” there is certainly the possibility there will be women who want to give it a try.”

Fetzer did say, despite its problems, she is glad there is at least an option for women with low sex drive. Studies performed for FDA approval of the drug showed Addyi helped some women, but the results were “modest.”

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