Can Women Who Have Depression Still Take Female Viagra? Here's How Addyi Could Affect You

Today, the FDA approved Flibanserin (Addyi), the "female Viagra" made to treat Hypoactive Sexual Desire Disorder (HSDD) in pre-menopausal women. HSDD refers to a series of disorders related to problems with desire, arousal, orgasms, and sexual pain. Essentially, Addyi, is a CNS, or a depressant used to slow brain activity made to treat issues like anxiety and sleep disorders. Taken once daily at bedtime, Addyi is a non-hormonal pill. But can you take female viagra if you have depression? I talked to Dr. Anita Clayton, the interim chair of the department of psychiatry and neurobehavioral sciences at the University of Virginia School of Medicine in Charlottesville, to see whether or not the new “female Viagra” drug was safe to take for women who were also suffering with depression.

According to Clayton, the answer is…YES!

“A study was done specifically to answer this question. It showed that flibanserin was safe to use in patients taking antidepressant medications for the treatment of depression; there was no increase in symptoms of depression or concerning medication side effects.”

Unlike male Viagra, which addresses a mechanical issue with erectile dysfunction, Addyi targets key chemicals in the brain that impact female sexual response. For one, flibanserin has been found to have a positive effect on dopamine and norepinephrine—chemicals that deal with sexual excitement—and a negative effect on serotonin, which is involved in sexual inhibition. Because of that, women taking the pill will experience a pro-sexual response.

According to Sprout Pharmaceuticals, the company behind the drug, clinical trials showed a consistent increase in sexual desire, a decrease in distress from the loss of sexual desire and an increase in the frequency of sexual satisfaction. Furthermore, women who were treated with the drug saw benefits as early as four week throughout a 24-week treatment period.

Previously, while men have over 20 different treatment options for sexual dysfunction, women had zero. But thanks for the FDA’s decision, that has come to an end.

“This is a momentous decision in women’s health! Seventeen years after the approval of the first medication to treat a sexual dysfunction in men, women now have a treatment for hypoactive sexual desire disorder or HSDD, a condition affecting 1 in 10 US women,” Clayton says. “For the 50 percent of women who respond to flibanserin treatment, the outcomes include restoration of desire, reduction in personal distress related to the loss of desire, and more and better sex as measured by the woman’s report of satisfying sexual events, all of which the women indicated were meaningful to them. Women now have a medical option for treatment of this biologic condition. Now women can choose.”

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