Is Addyi The Miracle Sex Drug For Black Women?
Addyi doesn’t work that way. It doesn’t work on the women’s genitals, but rather her central nervous system. In fact, the pill was originally developed to treat depression. Researchers even initially feared it would hurt, not promote, sexual desire. Addyi is what’s known as a 5HT1A agonist and a 5HT2A antagonist. It shares mechanisms in common with the antidepressant and anti-anxiety drug buspirone (Buspar). As a 5HT1A agonist, it promotes dopamine release. But nobody’s really sure exactly how it elevates lust. According to the FDA, “Flibanserin’s (Addyi) mechanism in the treatment of HSDD is unknown.”
What are the side effects?
Addyi has the potential to cause severely low blood pressure (hypotension) and loss of consciousness (syncope) in some people. These risks are increased and more severe when taken with alcohol or if one takes Addyi with certain medicines or foods (known as moderate or strong CYP3A4 inhibitors) that interfere with the breakdown of Addyi in the body. Grapefruit juice is a common CYP3A4 inhibitor. Because of the alcohol interaction, the use of alcohol is contraindicated while taking Addyi. So if alcohol is a part of your romance regimen, be sure to change that once Addyi is on deck.
Other potential side effects are dizziness, anxiety, fatigue, dry mouth, insomnia and nausea. Not everyone who partook in the study had any of these but there were more occasions of these being reported compared to the placebo group. And because the drug is still fairly new, there have not been nor could there have been any long term studies on side effects in the treatment of HSDD, according to the FDA briefing.
So if you are considering Addyi it will be necessary to do an honest self-assessment and have a discussion with your doctor not only about your physical health but your emotional, mental and relationship health. There may be other underlying causes for your lack of sexual desire. It could be stress, depression, a side effect of other medications, a medical condition you’re unaware of or even relationship issues.
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As Black women, we are predisposed and have higher rates of high blood pressure and depression so you may have either of these and not know. And if you are someone who is being treated for either of these, know that some high blood pressure and anti-depression medications when taken in combination with Addyi can cause your blood pressure to become dangerously low. So speak with your doctor about what’s going on and disclose all medications you may be taking.
It is anticipated that Addyi will be available by October 17, 2015.
Nurse Alice Benjamin is a nationally board certified Cardiac Clinical Nurse at world-renowned Cedar-Sinai Medical Center in West Hollywood, California with more than 15 years of experience. She is an American Heart Association spokesperson and first African-American nurse elected to the American Nurses Association/California Board of Directors. Benjamin is also a freelance on-air health expert and writer. She has appeared on various national radio shows and TV shows including “Tom Joyner Morning Show”, “The Doctors” and HLN’s “News Now” and more. You can follow her on Twitter at @AskNurseAlice.