What You Need To Know About The New Libido Pill For Women

By: Elizabeth Palermo
Published: 08/21/2015 10:58 AM EDT on LiveScience

Some health professionals are reacting with more enthusiasm than others about the first approved drug aimed at increasing women’s sexual desire.

Known generically as flibanserin and sold under the brand name Addyi, the medication could be prescribed as early as Oct.17, said Sprout Pharmaceuticals, the company that developed the so-called “little pink pill.”

Many have compared Addyi to Viagra, the medication for men with erectile dysfunction that increases blood flow to the penis. But the new pill for women aims to boost women’s libidos by affecting levels of brain chemicals, rather than blood flow. It doesn’t get ladies physically ready for sex; rather, it purports to get them mentally ready to do the deed by targeting neurotransmitters in the brain linked to desire, appetite and other sex-related emotions. [51 Sultry Facts About Sex]

But some experts aren’t sold on this neurological approach to curing low libido. The problem with focusing solely on neurotransmitters’ role in sex drive is that a woman’s desire to have sex isn’t linked only to chemicals in the brain, said Kristen Carpenter, a psychologist and director of Women’s Behavioral Health at The Ohio State University’s Wexner Medical Center.

Sexual desire is a “multifaceted phenomenon,” Carpenter said.

And although Addyi may help a subset of women, it won’t improve the sex lives of all women who have low libido, said Carpenter, who provides therapy for many women with low libido.

“I don’t think this will be a magic bullet,” she said. “Sexual desire is a largely psychological phenomenon, which is why it’s important that a [medication] that acts centrally on the brain be a part of treatment. But it is a nuanced experience, and a pill only addresses one piece of that.”

Not for everyone

Sprout Pharmaceuticals doesn’t claim that Addyi will —> Read More