Addyi, the first prescription medication approved to boost female libido, hits the market today. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved marketing the drug to premenopausal women whose low libido doesn’t stem from a medical or psychiatric condition, medication or other substances, but from a lack of desire characterized as hypoactive sexual desire disorder, or HSDD.A study shows that Viagra increases female arousal and satisfaction, but apparently that is not what women want.
The so-called “female Viagra” — something of a misnomer because Addyi does not affect arousal as Viagra does but rather increases libido — was mired in controversy prior to its approval, in large part because clinical studies did not show dramatic improvements in sexual desire and used measures that many experts criticized as inadequate. Despite such concerns, Addyi’s drugmaker, Sprout Pharmaceuticals, was purchased by Valeant Pharmaceuticals International for $1 billion once the drug received approval.
With about 10 percent of women suffering from HSDD, Valeant projects a healthy market for this once-a-day pill, and that does not include a large group of women who are likely to be prescribed the drug for another kind of desire problem: the low libido that is a common side effect of antidepressants.
Although Addyi has not been approved by the FDA for antidepressant-induced libido problems, once a drug hits the market, doctors can prescribe it off-label for other uses other than its approved indication. Nearly one in five women in the U.S. takes an antidepressant, and as many as 70 percent report dampened sexual desire as a result.
20% of US women are hooked on antidepressant pills?! I had heard that before, but did not believe it. That is huge. Presumably millions of other women are just as crazy but refuse to take pills.
I have noticed that ads directed at women often tell them to take whatever pills their doctor recommends. In private conversation also, women commonly say that they take whatever drugs their doctor says to take, as if they were not even allowed to have an opinion on the matter. So I guess they take antidepressants just because they are told, and soon they may be taking libido boosters also, even with all the side effects. Strange.
Here is an example of an NPR news story assuming that women like to do what they are told:
But what was surprising, she says, was that, after discussing family history and personal health, her doctor determined that because Nichols was not at high risk for getting breast cancer, it was probably too soon to get that first scan. ...She has the choice of whether to do that scan, and then whether to have that more invasive procedure. Her physician is probably just following standard guidelines that anyone can read on the web. If not, his advice is probably worse. Apparently women want to do what they are told.
Nichols says she felt comfortable with that decision, "knowing that my risk for breast cancer was low compared to the risk of having to have more invasive procedures such as biopsies or lumpectomies."
She's right about the statistics. Researchers say that, across a 10-year period of getting annual mammograms, women overall have a 50-50 chance of being called back at least once for further testing that turns up nothing cancerous.