Is Another ‘Female Viagra’ About to Hit Shelves?

Hopefully this one is more effective than Addyi.

bremelanotide
Image via Lively

About a year has passed since Addyi, the first drug approved to boost female libido, became available. Now, there’s a competitor to the so-called “female viagra” that’s just passed through Phase 3 trials. And, it’s one big step closer to landing in stores.

The original drug, Addyi (also referred to as Flibanserin), was supposed to offer a viagra-style option to women, but thanks so some strange side-effects like fainting and dizziness, restrictions on who can actually use it (only those with hypoactive sexual desire disorder/HSDD or clinically low sex drive are eligible), and a study raising concerns about Addyi’s efficacy, it hasn’t exactly been widely adopted. In fact, Addyi was only prescribed 1,000 times in the two months following its release.

So, now there may be an alternative on the way

A libido-lifting drug that women can inject into their thigh or abdomen right before sex. Called bremelanotide, it’s been under development for several years, but just made it through Phase 3 trials that prove the drug’s effective in premenopausal women suffering from HSDD. You can read more details about the science behind the drug here.

However, it’s still too early to get excited

The drug already echoes some of the flaws women have discovered using Addyi. While Viagra has a purely physical impact, both Addyi and bremelanotide target psychological causes of sexual dysfunction, which is complicated. We know this because women who tried Addyi in clinical trials only an average increase of up to one “sexually satisfying partner event,” like intercourse, oral sex, or manual sex, than those who were taking the placebo. Meanwhile, they were told not to drink alcohol, and also suffered side-effects like nausea and dizziness. That’s hardly something to get excited about, so we’ll be keeping cautiously optimistic until more studies and trials are conducted.