Addyi Review: Can It Restore Sex Drive?

Addyi Review: Can It Restore Sex Drive?


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Disclaimer: None of the information in this article constitutes medical advice, and is just the opinion of the writer(s). We recommend that patients follow their doctor’s guidance in regard to prescription medication.

Addyi is an FDA-approved prescription medication for increasing sex drive in women. The generic version of this medication is called flibanserin, and we’ll use these two terms interchangeably throughout this article because they refer to the same active drug ingredient.

But is Addyi proven in research studies to improve sex drive in women? Does the drug cause side effects? Is generic flibanserin as effective as Addyi? And how do real users rate and describe the effects of Addyi?

In this article we’ll answer all of these questions and more, as we review clinical studies on Addyi to determine if it's effective for improving sex drive in women.

We'll discuss the risk of side effects, explain if patients can get a generic version for much cheaper, and feature unsponsored patient reviews.

Does Addyi Increase Sex Drive?

Addyi has been studied in clinical trials which examined its effects on female libido.

medical review published in the Journal of Women’s Health analyzed the results of three clinical trials on Addyi in premenopausal women with low sexual desire.

All three trials showed a positive effect for the Addyi group, with the average sexual desire score nearly doubling (from 1.2 to 2.1 “satisfying sexual events” over the 28 day trial period).

The researchers noted that the results were consistent across demographics like race, and that the medication not only improved sexual desire but also reduced sexual distress.

Addyi has also been studied in postmenopausal women.

A 2017 clinical trial examined the effects of the drug in trial participants with an average age of around 56 years.

The results from this study were less favorable than the study with premenopausal trial participants. Sexual function was documented to be improved by Addyi, but there was no difference in the number of satisfying sexual events.

The most thorough meta-study we could find on Addyi reviewed data from eight clinical trials totalling 5,914 patients.

Addyi was found in the review to be effective on average, but to a relatively low degree. Treatment with the drug resulted in 0.5 additional satisfying sexual events compared to baseline per month.

Addyi is proven to be effective for increasing sexual desire in women, but in our opinion, not to a particularly impressive degree.

A review of Addyi by popular health channel "The Doctors" discusses data on the drug and comes to similar conclusions that we did:

Does Addyi Cause Side Effects?

Addyi black box warning

Addyi's FDA label has a "black box" warning, shown above, indicating that alcohol cannot be used with the drug and that Addyi can have severe side effects when taken with certain types of medications like CYP3A4 inhibitors.

A doctor should be able to check a patient's medication records to make sure they are not taking anything that would negatively interact with Addyi.

According to the meta-study we reviewed in the first section, Addyi was 4x more likely than placebo pills to cause dizziness.

It was also 4x more likely to cause sleepiness, and 2.35x more likely to cause nausea. Risk of fatigue as a side effect also increased by 64% on average.

Given the black box warning, it's important that patients considering Addyi have an honest conversation with their doctor about whether or not they can stop drinking alcohol entirely.

If a patient is unable to do so, their doctor may be able to recommend other medications to improve sex drive that do not have a negative interaction with alcohol.

Real People Try Addyi

A YouTube creator named "Paige Higgins Vlogs" shared her experience trying Addyi:

A TikTok user named "therealannemiek" shared a review on Addyi and explained how the drug impacted her:

@therealannemiek Sorry for the late video, here is my update on Addyi ❤️ #Addyi #foryou #hsdd ♬ original sound - Annemiek

How Much Cheaper is the Generic?

As referenced in the intro to this article, the generic form of Addyi is called flibanserin. These two drugs have the exact same active ingredient.

Medical research has conclusively proven that generic drugs are just as effective as brand-name drugs. This suggests that generic flibanserin should be just as effective as Addyi, but generic drugs often have significantly lower retail prices.

Unfortunately, at the time of updating this article, generic flibanserin is not available in the US according to GoodRx.

Drug manufacturers have exclusive patent rights for 20 years, but the testing and development process can take around 10 years, so generic versions of prescription medication often hit the market around 10 years after FDA approval.

Addyi was approved in 2015, so a generic version of this drug should hit the market within the next few years.

Patients Rate Addyi

Drugs.com is a website that allows prescription medication patients to rate and review the drugs they're taking.

We cannot verify the accuracy or authenticity of any reviews on this site.

Addyi has been reviewed over 60 times on Drugs.com, and has an average rating of 3.8 out of 10 at the time of updating this article.

A top positive review comes from a user named "Lisa" who gave the drug a 10/10 rating, and claims it improved her libido:

"Addyi has given me back my libido completely. My sweet husband has been so patient with me for years now - I dreaded his advances- I can’t tell you how wonderful it is to want/desire intimacy again. It’s absolutely the best thing ever!"

A top negative review is written by a user named "Ellie" who gave the drug a 1/10 rating, and claims it caused significant side effects:

"I was drowsy all day for the two months I was on it. On top of that, the dizziness and headaches were nearly unbearable. Driving was terrifying because half the time I couldn’t see very well...My RESTING heart rate was at 140 bpm. (I’m 23, and weigh 110 lbs, and am very healthy)."

Our Clean Women's Libido Picks

Ristela by Bonafide is our top overall women's libido pick.

The four active ingredients in this supplement are clinically shown to improve sexual desire and satisfaction scores by over 100% after eight weeks.

Momentous Vitamin D3 is our top value women's libido pick.

Vitamin D was shown to improve sexual desire, orgasm and satisfaction in young women with low vitamin D status in a 2018 clinical trial

Momentous Zinc is our top libido pick for postmenopausal women.

A 2021 clinical trial concluded that zinc supplementation can improve sexual function in postmenopausal women.

We're not suggesting that dietary supplements are as effective as any FDA-approved medication.

How Does Addyi Work?

Sexual function and desire comes from both mental and physical stimuli, and Addyi functions on the mental level.

The medication increases circulating levels of dopamine and reduces levels of serotonin in the brain.

These two neurotransmitters are associated with a wide range of physical functions, moods and hormonal signaling.

Medical research has proven that overactivity of serotonin can cause female sexual disorders, so decreasing levels of this neurotransmitter is likely what makes Addyi effective. Serotonin can inhibit sexual desire and arousal.

Addyi acts as an agonist on dopamine D4 receptors, which means it binds to the receptors and activates cellular signaling. This appears to be its main mechanism of action, along with its ability to be an agonist at several other receptor sites in the brain.

Stay up-to-date on our research reviews

Conclusion

Addyi is effective for enhancing sexual function in women, but not to a very impressive degree in our opinion.

The drug increased satisfying sexual events by 0.5 per month compared to baseline in the largest medical study we could identify.

Addyi can cause side effects such as nausea and dizziness, and patients on Addyi need to refrain from drinking alcohol entirely to reduce the risk of severe side effects.

This medication has one of the worst average user ratings on Drugs.com of any medication we've reviewed to date on Illuminate Health, but it's a relatively small sample size.

The generic version of Addyi is not currently on the market, but it may become available at some point in the next few years, so we would recommend that patients speak with their doctor at least once annually to check if generic flibanserin is available.