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 women to increase sex drive. 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 drug.
Is Addyi actually 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 trials on Addyi to determine if it's effective, document its side effects, explain if the generic version is as effective and share real, unsponsored user reviews of Addyi.
Does Addyi Increase Sex Drive?
Addyi has been studied in clinical trials which examined its effects on female libido.
A medical review published in the Journal of Women’s Health analyzed the results of three clinical trials on Addyi for 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 on trial participants with an average age of around 56 years.
The results from this study were less favorable than the study on premenopausal women. 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. The largest study we could identify on this drug increased satisfying sexual events in sexually active women by less than one such event per month.
A review of Addyi by popular health channel "The Doctors" discusses data on the drug and comes to similar conclusions as we did:
Does Addyi Cause Side Effects?
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 negative interactions with alcohol.
Real, Unsponsored User Review of 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
Is the Generic Version of Addyi as Effective?
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.
Unfortunately, at the time of updating this article, generic flibanserin is not available on the U.S. market 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 we would recommend that patients taking the drug ask their doctor about generic flibanserin at least once every year to check if it's on the market.
Addyi Real Patient Reviews
Addyi has been reviewed 50 times on Drugs.com at the time of updating this article. This website allows users of prescription medication to review drugs they're taking and assign a rating.
The average rating of Addyi is 3.3 out of 10, which is the worst average rating of any prescription medication we've reviewed to date on Illuminate Health.
The top positive review comes from a user named "Lisa" who claims that the drug 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!"
The top negative review is written by a user named "Ellie" who claims that the drug 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)."
Can an OTC Supplement Naturally Increase Libido?
Panax ginseng is a root native to Asia that's sold as a dietary supplement, and which has been studied in several clinical trials for its effects on libido in women.
A clinical trial published in The Journal of Sexual Medicine tested the effects of panax ginseng extract on sexual arousal in menopausal women. The supplement "significantly improved scores" on a sexual arousal scale after two weeks.
A 2015 clinical trial tested the effects of panax ginseng extract on the libido of premenopausal women. The supplement was found to increase sexual desire by 19% but the researchers considered the results not statistically significant.
Illuminate Labs sells a panax ginseng extract supplement which is third-party tested to ensure label accuracy, potency and purity, and which contains no questionable additive ingredients.
We are not suggesting that panax ginseng extract is effective as a standalone libido enhancer, or that it’s as effective as Addyi. We’re simply sharing some promising research on this herbal supplement which has negligible side effects based on clinical studies. Patients may benefit from speaking with their doctor about trying panax ginseng for sexual arousal before progressing to pharmaceutical medication.
Interested consumers can check out Illuminate Labs Panax Ginseng Extract at this link to the product page on our website, where the supplement can be purchased for only $15 on a subscription basis.
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.