Should I Use Female Viagra? 6 Ways To Tell If You Need Addyi, Because It's Not For Everyone

A lot goes into account before a doctor prescribes a medication. For flibanserin,also known as Addyi, the newly approved FDA drug for women by Sprout Pharmaceuticals, Inc., it is no different. The drug is meant to: provide a higher number of sexual events; increase sexual desire; and lower distress. But the drug isn't for everyone. It is not the same as the male Viagra, in which a pill is popped as-needed 30 minutes to four hours before sex and… voilà! For the women’s version, so to speak, it has to do more with libido and brain chemicals (like neurotransmitters) — researchers at Standford University even put women in MRIs with pornography playing inside, in order to see their brains’ reactions (or lack thereof). With flibanserin, the pill is popped every day, sex or not, and it can then take up to eight weeks to see results. Plus, its side effects are getting a lot of heat. So who should take "female Viagra?" For one, “The medicine is geared mostly toward peri- or post-menopausal women to help them with this substantial medical issue,” Dr. Brett Worly, MD, OB/GYN tells Bustle.

Here are six things you need to do to see if you’re a potential candidate to take the drug.  

1. Your Sex Drive

No matter what you do, is it stagnant or non-existent? Have you tried changing your diet (more oysters or chocolate, anyone?), sex positions, or what you wear (or not) in the bedroom? Yet nothing works? Call your OB/GYN or doctor and see #2.

2. Get A Medical Evaluation

In sitting down with your doctor, he or she can help determine if you can benefit from Addyi. Several factors are considered to see why your sex drive may be down: menstrual cycles, the type of birth control pills you take, if you’ve had a hysterectomy, have underlying medical problems, what medications you are on, the quality of your relationship with your significant other, and so forth. “Other issues must be ruled out first,” says Dr. Worly.

3. Do You Suffer From Hypoactive Sexual Desire Disorder (HSDD)? 

If so, that’s a primary indicator that you may be a candidate for Addyi. People with HSDD have “a deficiency or absence of sexual fantasies and desire for sexual activity that causes marked distress or interpersonal difficulty.”

4. Are You Pre- Or Perimenopausal?

Yes, menopausal issues usually happen to women our parents’ ages; however, they can occur in the younger sect, too. That’s where the medical evaluation (#2) comes in, to best determine why your sex drive’s gone MIA and to have your doctor suggest ways that you can find it again (little pink pill or not).

5. You Have Tried Something Else

In the OB/GYNs, doctors, and sex therapists I spoke to, all of them said they first try to outline other potential causes of a reduced sex drive and remedy it that way. For instance, they’ll suggest couples counseling if you’re having relationship problems. Or perhaps they’ll switch one of your medications to see if that increases your libido.

6. You Can Deal With The Side Effects

Chances are, all medications have side effects and flibanserin (Addyi) is no different — low blood pressure, fainting, and sleepiness are among them. But do the benefits (a higher number of satisfying sexual events; increased sexual desire; and lowered distress) outweigh the cons? You’ll have to see for yourself.

“The medication is certainly not for everybody, but women certainly deserve options and to see if it’s right for them,” says Dr. Michael Krychman, who was one of the doctors on the scientific advisory board testifying on behalf of flibanserin to the FDA.

Want more of Bustle's Sex and Relationships coverage? Check out our new podcast, I Want It That Way, which delves into the difficult and downright dirty parts of a relationship, and find more on our Soundcloud page.

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Images: Ang Sherpa/Flickr (1); wajakemek | rashdanothman/Flickr (2)

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