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New “Female Viagra” Drug Addyi Gets FDA Approval

by Elizabeth Davis on August 19, 2015 at 11:28 am

Addyi (flibanserin) was approved by the FDA on August 18, 2015, despite continuing controversy over effectiveness and potential side effects.

The new drug from Sprout Pharmaceuticals has been touted as Viagra for women, though it works a bit differently. Addyi is approved to treat low libido, which makes it the first of its kind for men or women. Viagra and other drugs like Cialis and Levitra are specifically intended to help men with erectile dysfunction—not to increase desire.

Many consider Addyi’s approval a big step forward for supporting women’s sexual health, but there may be some major downsides. The side effects are severe enough to warrant a strict black box warning from the FDA. You shouldn’t have alcohol while taking Addyi, because it can increase the likelihood of extremely low blood pressure and fainting. Other side effects include nausea, dizziness, and sleepiness, and it can’t be used with a long list of other medications, including some popular antibiotics, antifungals, and mental health prescriptions.

Worth it? Maybe not. Compared with a placebo, flibanserin (Addyi) offered less than one extra “satisfying sexual event” per month, based on a 2010 study funded by the drug company. Studies in 2013 showed similar results.

Still interested? Here’s what you need to know about Addyi’s release later this year:

Where will Addyi be available?

You’ll only be able to get Addyi through certain certified pharmacies, and only certified doctors will be able to prescribe it, due to the strict warning.

When will Addyi be available?

The manufacturer, Sprout, is predicting that it will be in pharmacies October 17, 2015.

Will my insurance cover it?

Maybe. The manufacturer has made a statement saying they think many plans will cover Addyi, at a typical cost to you of around $30 – $75 per month, but this is going to vary a lot, and no insurance companies have made any decisions yet.

How much will it cost without insurance?

Sprout hasn’t set an exact price, but they’ve said that it will likely be priced similarly to Viagra. Since Viagra is taken as-needed and Addyi is a once-daily pill, it’s hard to make a guess based on that estimate. However, to give you a rough idea: a typical fill of Viagra is around 6 – 10 tablets, costing anywhere from $250 – $450 without any discounts.

Will there be a discount available?

Yes. The manufacturer will offer a co-pay card, and once Addyi is in pharmacies, you’ll be able to find more discounts here on GoodRx.

What else should I know?

Check out Dr. O’s great article on 10 things you need to know about Addyi. If you’re worried about side effects or how well flibanserin might work, you can find more info here.

You can also find the official FDA press announcement with more background here.


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