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{"id":556767510601,"title":"Flibanserin Review: Can It Increase Female Sexual Function?","created_at":"2022-07-21T12:19:07-04:00","body_html":"\u003cscript type=\"application\/ld+json\"\u003e\/\/ \u003c![CDATA[\n{\n \"@context\": \"https:\/\/schema.org\",\n \"@type\": \"Article\",\n \"headline\": \"Flibanserin Review: Can It Increase Female Sexual Function?\",\n \"keywords\": \"flibanserin, flibanserin review, flibanserin reviews, flibanserin side effects, flibanserin addyi\",\n \"description\": \"Our research team reviews medical studies on flibanserin to determine if the drug is safe and effective for enhancing female sexual function and desire. We highlight side effects of the medication, compare it to the branded version, and suggest two natural libido-enhancing compounds available OTC.\",\n \"url\": \"https:\/\/illuminatelabs.org\/blogs\/health\/flibanserin-review\",\n\"author\": {\n \"@type\": \"Person\",\n \"name\": \"Calloway Cook\",\n \"url\": \"https:\/\/illuminatelabs.org\/pages\/calloway-cook\",\n \"sameAs\": \"https:\/\/www.linkedin.com\/in\/calloway-cook\/\",\n \"jobTitle\": \"President\",\n \"knowsAbout\": \"entrepreneurship, dietary supplements, herbal supplements, eCommerce, medical research\",\n \"alumniOf\": {\n \"@type\": \"EducationalOrganization\",\n \"name\": \"S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University\"\n },\n \"memberOf\": {\n \"@type\": \"Organization\",\n \"name\": \"Illuminate Labs\"\n }\n},\n\"creator\": {\n \"@type\": \"Person\",\n \"name\": \"Calloway Cook\",\n \"url\": \"https:\/\/illuminatelabs.org\/pages\/calloway-cook\",\n \"sameAs\": \"https:\/\/www.linkedin.com\/in\/calloway-cook\/\",\n \"jobTitle\": \"President\",\n \"knowsAbout\": \"entrepreneurship, dietary supplements, herbal supplements, eCommerce, medical research\",\n \"alumniOf\": {\n \"@type\": \"EducationalOrganization\",\n \"name\": \"S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University\"\n },\n \"memberOf\": {\n \"@type\": \"Organization\",\n \"name\": \"Illuminate Labs\"\n }\n},\n\"editor\": {\n \"@type\": \"Person\",\n \"name\": \"Taylor Graber MD\",\n \"url\": \"https:\/\/illuminatelabs.org\/pages\/taylor-graber\",\n \"sameAs\": \"https:\/\/www.linkedin.com\/in\/taylor-j-graber-md-81351642\/\",\n \"jobTitle\": \"Content Partner\",\n \"knowsAbout\": \"medicine, health, anesthesiology, iv therapy, science, drugs, pharmaceutical, medical research, scientific research, medical journals, entrepreneurship, healthcare, orthopedic surgery, biomedical engineering\",\n \"alumniOf\": {\n \"@type\": \"EducationalOrganization\",\n \"name\": [\n \"University of California San Diego\",\n \"Arizona University\",\n \"University of Arizona College of Medicine\"\n ]\n },\n \"memberOf\": {\n \"@type\": \"Organization\",\n \"name\": \"Illuminate Labs\"\n }\n},\n\"image\": {\n\"@type\": \"ImageObject\",\n\"url\": \"https:\/\/cdn.shopify.com\/s\/files\/1\/0047\/1524\/9737\/files\/Flibanserin_Thumbnail.jpg?v=1658420539\",\n\"width\": \"1572\",\n\"height\": \"1572\"\n},\n\"citation\": [\n\"https:\/\/illuminatelabs.org\/blogs\/health\/addyi-review\", \n\"https:\/\/pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov\/30707049\/\",\n\"https:\/\/pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov\/28583342\/\",\n\"https:\/\/pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov\/26927498\/\",\n\"https:\/\/pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov\/29198512\/\",\n\"https:\/\/www.fda.gov\/news-events\/press-announcements\/fda-orders-important-safety-labeling-changes-addyi\",\n\"https:\/\/www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov\/pmc\/articles\/PMC6415809\/\",\n\"https:\/\/www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov\/pmc\/articles\/PMC8103282\/\",\n\"https:\/\/www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov\/pmc\/articles\/PMC6494062\/\"\n],\n\"mentions\": [{\n \"@type\": \"Thing\",\n \"name\": \"libido\"\n },\n {\n \"@type\": \"Thing\",\n \"name\": \"FDA\"\n },\n {\n \"@type\": \"Thing\",\n \"name\": \"alcohol\"\n },\n {\n \"@type\": \"Thing\",\n \"name\": \"maca\"\n },\n {\n \"@type\": \"Thing\",\n \"name\": \"l-arginine\"\n },\n {\n \"@type\": \"Thing\",\n \"name\": \"Drugs.com\"\n }\n],\n\"datePublished\": \"2022-07-21\",\n\"copyrightHolder\": {\n \"@type\": \"Organization\",\n \"name\": \"Illuminate Labs\"\n},\n\"publisher\": {\n \"@type\": \"Organization\",\n \"name\": \"Illuminate Labs\",\n \"url\": \"https:\/\/illuminatelabs.org\/\",\n \"description\": \"Illuminate Labs is the most transparent supplement company in the U.S., and is a leading publisher of research-based health information.\",\n \"knowsAbout\": \"supplements, science, nutrition, exercise, health, medication, pharmaceutical, wellness, diet, weight loss, medical research\",\n \"publishingPrinciples\": \"https:\/\/illuminatelabs.org\/pages\/editorial-guidelines\",\n \"logo\": {\n \"@type\": \"ImageObject\",\n \"url\": \"https:\/\/cdn.shopify.com\/s\/files\/1\/0047\/1524\/9737\/files\/Illuminate_Labs_Logo.png?v=1641249064\", \n \"width\": 150,\n \"height\": 150\n},\n \"foundingDate\": \"2019-01-30\",\n \"Address\": {\n \"@type\": \"PostalAddress\",\n \"streetAddress\": \"50 Union Street, Unit 9\",\n \"addressLocality\": \"Northampton\",\n \"addressRegion\": \"Massachusetts\",\n \"postalCode\": \"01060\",\n \"addressCountry\": \"US\"\n},\n \"sameAs\": [\n \"https:\/\/www.instagram.com\/illuminatelabs\",\n \"https:\/\/twitter.com\/illuminatelabs\",\n \"https:\/\/www.linkedin.com\/company\/illuminate-labs-supplements\",\n \"https:\/\/www.youtube.com\/channel\/UCpgSJAsIPb-fZ25djtTxBEA\"\n ]\n }\n}\n\/\/ ]]\u003e\u003c\/script\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003ci\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003e\u003cimg src=\"https:\/\/cdn.shopify.com\/s\/files\/1\/0047\/1524\/9737\/files\/Flibanserin_Review_Article_Header_Image_Optimized.png?v=1658420512\" alt=\"\"\u003e\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/i\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003ci\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003eDisclaimer: None of the information in this article constitutes medical advice, and is just the opinion of the writer(s) and published for informational purposes only. We recommend that patients follow their doctor’s guidance in regard to prescription medication.\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/i\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003e\u003cspan class=\"dc\"\u003eF\u003c\/span\u003elibanserin is a prescription drug used to improve libido in women. It’s approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in the U.S. to treat Hypoactive Sexual Desire Disorder (HSDD) in women, which is sometimes caused by hormonal changes during menopause. \u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003eThe branded version of the drug is called \u003c\/span\u003e\u003ca href=\"https:\/\/illuminatelabs.org\/blogs\/health\/addyi-review\"\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003eAddyi\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/a\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003e. We’ll use these two terms interchangeably throughout this article because they refer to the same active pharmaceutical ingredient.\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003eIn this article we’ll review medical studies on flibanserin to determine if the medication is safe and effective for increasing sex drive in women. We’ll review side effects of the drug, compare the generic and branded versions, and share some natural compounds which may improve sex drive in women without needing a prescription.\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003ch2 style=\"text-align: center;\"\u003e\u003cb\u003eDoes Flibanserin Work?\u003c\/b\u003e\u003c\/h2\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003eFlibanserin has been studied extensively for its libido-enhancing effects, which one would expect given that it’s approved by the FDA (a process which requires significant research backing).\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003eA \u003c\/span\u003e\u003ca href=\"https:\/\/pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov\/30707049\/\"\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003emedical study\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/a\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003e published in 2019 examined the data from three individual clincal trials on flibanserin for pre-menopausal women with low sexual desire.\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003eAll three clinical trials documented enhanced sex drive for those taking flibanserin. The average sexual desire score increased the number of “satisfying sexual events” from 1.2 to 2.1 over the 28 day trial period. The study authors noted that the results were consistent across demographics like race and ethnicity, and that flibanserin not only improved sexual desire but also reduced sexual distress.\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003eThe medication has also been studied in post-menopausal women. A \u003c\/span\u003e\u003ca href=\"https:\/\/pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov\/28583342\/\"\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003emedical trial\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/a\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003e published in \u003c\/span\u003e\u003ci\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003eThe Journal of Sexual Medicine\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/i\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003e analyzed its efficacy for enhancing sexual desire in women past menopause. The average age of the trial participants was around 56 years old.\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003eThe data from this trial was less favorable than from the study on pre-menopausal women. Sexual function was slightly improved, as measured by a clinical metric called the Female Sexual Function Index desire domain (FSFI-d) score, but there was no difference in the number or frequency of satisfying sexual events.\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003eThe most thorough \u003c\/span\u003e\u003ca href=\"https:\/\/pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov\/26927498\/\"\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003emedical review\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/a\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003e we could find on flibanserin included data from women across different hormonal and age demographics. The study authors pulled data from 8 individual medical trials and 5,914 total patients to determine how effective flibanserin was on average for improving sexual desire.\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003eThe medication was found in this review to be effective, but not to an impressive degree in our opinion. Flibanserin increased the average number of satisfying sexual events by 0.5 per month.\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003eFlibanserin is effective at improving female libido to a statistically significant degree based on medical research. That said, the clinical results aren’t that impressive in our opinion. The drug appears to be somewhat more effective in pre-menopausal women than in post-menopausal women based on the studies we reviewed.\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003ch2 style=\"text-align: center;\"\u003e\u003cb\u003eHow Does Flibanserin Work?\u003c\/b\u003e\u003c\/h2\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003eLibido is a complex and multifactorial aspect of human biology. It’s affected by both mental and physical factors, and the mechanism of action of flibanserin appears to be mostly mental. The drug increases levels of dopamine and reduces levels of serotonin in the brain, according to one of the medical reviews linked in the previous section.\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003eThese two neurotransmitters affect both mood and hormonal signaling. Medical studies \u003c\/span\u003e\u003ca href=\"https:\/\/pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov\/29198512\/\"\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003ehave proven\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/a\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003e that increased levels of serotonin can reduce sexual desire in women, so decreasing its level is likely what makes flibanserin effective. Serotonin can reduce sexual desire and arousal.\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003eFlibanserin also acts as an agonist to dopamine receptors, which means that it attaches to the receptors and enhances cellular signaling. High levels of circulating dopamine are associated with increased sexual desire and increased reward-seeking behavior.\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003ch2 style=\"text-align: center;\"\u003e\u003cb\u003eFlibanserin Side Effects\u003c\/b\u003e\u003c\/h2\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003eFlibanserin does cause side effects in some patients, which should be expected given that it modulates levels of neurotransmitters.\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003eThe large medical review involving 5,000 flibanserin patients that we referenced previously also documented side effects of the drug. Those using flibanserin were four times more likely than those taking a placebo pill to experience dizziness. Users of the medication were also four times more likely to experience drowsiness, and 2.35 times more likely to suffer from nausea. The risk of fatigue also increased by 64% in the flibanserin group.\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003eOne of the biggest risk vectors of flibanserin involves the drug’s unfavorable interactions with alcohol. When flibanserin and alcohol are used concurrently, patients can experience severely low blood pressure and fainting. The FDA initially required a black box warning on the drug’s label due to the alcohol interaction risk, but recently \u003c\/span\u003e\u003ca href=\"https:\/\/www.fda.gov\/news-events\/press-announcements\/fda-orders-important-safety-labeling-changes-addyi\"\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003erevised that requirement\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/a\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003e because user data suggested that small amounts of alcohol could be tolerated while taking the drug.\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003eThe side effect profile of flibanserin is relatively mild compared to other prescription medications, but we would recommend that patients who consume moderate or high amounts of alcohol speak with their doctor about this potential interaction.\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003eIf the patient doesn’t believe they’ll be able to significantly reduce their alcohol intake, their doctor may suggest a libido-enhancing medication that doesn’t have negative interactions with alcohol.\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003ch2 style=\"text-align: center;\"\u003e\u003cb\u003eFlibanserin Vs. Addyi\u003c\/b\u003e\u003c\/h2\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003eAs we referenced earlier in the article, flibanserin is the generic form of the drug and Addyi is the branded form. Both of these medications contain the same active ingredient, and patients are often curious about which one to take.\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003eMedical studies \u003c\/span\u003e\u003ca href=\"https:\/\/www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov\/pmc\/articles\/PMC6415809\/\"\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003ehave conclusively proven\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/a\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003e that generic medications are just as effective as branded medications. This makes sense logically, given that they contain the same active ingredient.\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003eWe would recommend that patients interested in this drug speak with their doctor about flibanserin rather than Addyi, because generic drugs are often cheaper. This is an even more important consideration for patients without health insurance, who may be paying more on average per drug refill.\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003ch2 style=\"text-align: center;\"\u003e\u003cb\u003eFlibanserin User Reviews\u003c\/b\u003e\u003c\/h2\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003eFlibanserin has been reviewed over 50 times \u003c\/span\u003e\u003ca href=\"https:\/\/www.drugs.com\/comments\/flibanserin\/for-hypoactive-sexual-desire-disorder.html\"\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003eon Drugs.com\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/a\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003e, which is a website that allows patients to write personal reviews of their experience with prescription medications.\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003eWe cannot verify the accuracy or authenticity of any of these reviews, but we find this site to be a useful resource because it’s one of the few user-generated-content sites for prescription drugs.\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003eFlibanserin has an average rating of 3.3\/10 at the time of writing this article, which is the worst average rating of any drug we’ve reviewed on Illuminate Health to this point. A full 50% of users have rated the drug 1\/10.\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003eThe top positive review comes from a user named “Lisa” who claims the drug successfully increased her sexual desire:\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cb\u003e“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!”\u003c\/b\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003eThe top negative review is written by a user named “Ellie” who claims the drug caused them to experience uncomfortable side effects:\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cb\u003e“From day one I felt different. 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. But of course I would do anything for my husband. Finally I visited my doctor and explained it to her. My RESTING heart rate was at 140 bpm.”\u003c\/b\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003ch2 style=\"text-align: center;\"\u003e\u003cb\u003eNatural Libido Enhancers\u003c\/b\u003e\u003c\/h2\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003eThere exist some natural compounds which may be able to enhance female libido based on medical research. These compounds are available over-the-counter (OTC) which means they don't require a prescription and can be purchased online.\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003eA dietary supplement containing the amino acid \u003c\/span\u003e\u003cb\u003el-arginine\u003c\/b\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003e was found in a \u003c\/span\u003e\u003ca href=\"https:\/\/www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov\/pmc\/articles\/PMC8103282\/\"\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003emedical review\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/a\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003e to enhance female sexual function. Women taking the supplement reported a frequency of intercourse nearly 3x higher than those taking placebo pills. Sexual satisfaction scores averaged around 70% for the l-arginine group, and only averaged 37% for the placebo group.\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003eL-arginine is a nitric oxide precursor, and nitric oxide increases arterial blood flow to the genitals. This is why this amino acid may increase sexual desire.\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003eAn herbal compound called \u003c\/span\u003e\u003cb\u003emaca \u003c\/b\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003ewas found in a \u003c\/span\u003e\u003ca href=\"https:\/\/www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov\/pmc\/articles\/PMC6494062\/\"\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003eclinical trial\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/a\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003e published in 2008 to resolve sexual dysfunction caused by Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitor (SSRI) medications. 17 of the 20 trial participants were women. SSRI drugs often cause sexual side effects in both sexes.\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003eThe study authors documented that 3 grams (g) of maca daily improved sexual desire and sexual function. More clinical research is needed to validate this effect, but maca has been used to enhance sexual function for hundreds of years by traditional cultures. It’s native to the Andes mountains in South America.\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003eWe would recommend gelatinized maca rather than raw maca, because raw maca can cause digestive issues. It’s an indigestible plant starch, much like potato (which you wouldn’t consume raw). Many supplements use raw maca because it’s cheaper, but gelatinized maca is available for purchase as a food product in many health food stores. One brand we’ve noted selling organic gelatinized maca is Navitas Naturals.\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003ch2 style=\"text-align: center;\"\u003e\u003cstrong\u003eConclusion\u003c\/strong\u003e\u003c\/h2\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003eFlibanserin does improve sexual desire and function in women, but not to an impressive degree in our opinion. The medication only appears to increase satisfying sexual events by 0.5 per month on average, and this level of results may not be worth the risk of side effects.\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003eFlibanserin causes side effects in some patients like nausea and dizziness, and the drug can interact with alcohol increasing risk of fainting. We would recommend that patients with alcohol use disorders speak with their doctor about alternative libido medications without negative alcohol interactions.\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003eL-arginine and gelatinized maca root are dietary supplements which are proven in medical research to enhance female sexual function, and don’t seem to cause any significant side effects if dosed properly.\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e","blog_id":49281925193,"author":"Calloway Cook","user_id":26601750601,"published_at":"2022-07-21T12:31:54-04:00","updated_at":"2022-08-18T23:51:33-04:00","summary_html":"We review medical studies on flibanserin to determine if the drug is safe and effective for enhancing female sexual function and desire. We highlight side effects of the medication, compare it to the branded version, and suggest two natural libido-enhancing compounds available OTC.","template_suffix":"","handle":"flibanserin-review","tags":"_related:sex-drive, _related:women's-health"}

Flibanserin Review: Can It Increase Female Sexual Function?

Flibanserin Review: Can It Increase Female Sexual Function?


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Read our Editorial Guidelines to learn more about what makes our site the premier resource for online health information.


Read our Editorial Guidelines to learn more about what makes our site the premier resource for online health information.

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

Flibanserin is a prescription drug used to improve libido in women. It’s approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in the U.S. to treat Hypoactive Sexual Desire Disorder (HSDD) in women, which is sometimes caused by hormonal changes during menopause. 

The branded version of the drug is called Addyi. We’ll use these two terms interchangeably throughout this article because they refer to the same active pharmaceutical ingredient.

In this article we’ll review medical studies on flibanserin to determine if the medication is safe and effective for increasing sex drive in women. We’ll review side effects of the drug, compare the generic and branded versions, and share some natural compounds which may improve sex drive in women without needing a prescription.

Does Flibanserin Work?

Flibanserin has been studied extensively for its libido-enhancing effects, which one would expect given that it’s approved by the FDA (a process which requires significant research backing).

A medical study published in 2019 examined the data from three individual clincal trials on flibanserin for pre-menopausal women with low sexual desire.

All three clinical trials documented enhanced sex drive for those taking flibanserin. The average sexual desire score increased the number of “satisfying sexual events” from 1.2 to 2.1 over the 28 day trial period. The study authors noted that the results were consistent across demographics like race and ethnicity, and that flibanserin not only improved sexual desire but also reduced sexual distress.

The medication has also been studied in post-menopausal women. A medical trial published in The Journal of Sexual Medicine analyzed its efficacy for enhancing sexual desire in women past menopause. The average age of the trial participants was around 56 years old.

The data from this trial was less favorable than from the study on pre-menopausal women. Sexual function was slightly improved, as measured by a clinical metric called the Female Sexual Function Index desire domain (FSFI-d) score, but there was no difference in the number or frequency of satisfying sexual events.

The most thorough medical review we could find on flibanserin included data from women across different hormonal and age demographics. The study authors pulled data from 8 individual medical trials and 5,914 total patients to determine how effective flibanserin was on average for improving sexual desire.

The medication was found in this review to be effective, but not to an impressive degree in our opinion. Flibanserin increased the average number of satisfying sexual events by 0.5 per month.

Flibanserin is effective at improving female libido to a statistically significant degree based on medical research. That said, the clinical results aren’t that impressive in our opinion. The drug appears to be somewhat more effective in pre-menopausal women than in post-menopausal women based on the studies we reviewed.

How Does Flibanserin Work?

Libido is a complex and multifactorial aspect of human biology. It’s affected by both mental and physical factors, and the mechanism of action of flibanserin appears to be mostly mental. The drug increases levels of dopamine and reduces levels of serotonin in the brain, according to one of the medical reviews linked in the previous section.

These two neurotransmitters affect both mood and hormonal signaling. Medical studies have proven that increased levels of serotonin can reduce sexual desire in women, so decreasing its level is likely what makes flibanserin effective. Serotonin can reduce sexual desire and arousal.

Flibanserin also acts as an agonist to dopamine receptors, which means that it attaches to the receptors and enhances cellular signaling. High levels of circulating dopamine are associated with increased sexual desire and increased reward-seeking behavior.

Flibanserin Side Effects

Flibanserin does cause side effects in some patients, which should be expected given that it modulates levels of neurotransmitters.

The large medical review involving 5,000 flibanserin patients that we referenced previously also documented side effects of the drug. Those using flibanserin were four times more likely than those taking a placebo pill to experience dizziness. Users of the medication were also four times more likely to experience drowsiness, and 2.35 times more likely to suffer from nausea. The risk of fatigue also increased by 64% in the flibanserin group.

One of the biggest risk vectors of flibanserin involves the drug’s unfavorable interactions with alcohol. When flibanserin and alcohol are used concurrently, patients can experience severely low blood pressure and fainting. The FDA initially required a black box warning on the drug’s label due to the alcohol interaction risk, but recently revised that requirement because user data suggested that small amounts of alcohol could be tolerated while taking the drug.

The side effect profile of flibanserin is relatively mild compared to other prescription medications, but we would recommend that patients who consume moderate or high amounts of alcohol speak with their doctor about this potential interaction.

If the patient doesn’t believe they’ll be able to significantly reduce their alcohol intake, their doctor may suggest a libido-enhancing medication that doesn’t have negative interactions with alcohol.

Flibanserin Vs. Addyi

As we referenced earlier in the article, flibanserin is the generic form of the drug and Addyi is the branded form. Both of these medications contain the same active ingredient, and patients are often curious about which one to take.

Medical studies have conclusively proven that generic medications are just as effective as branded medications. This makes sense logically, given that they contain the same active ingredient.

We would recommend that patients interested in this drug speak with their doctor about flibanserin rather than Addyi, because generic drugs are often cheaper. This is an even more important consideration for patients without health insurance, who may be paying more on average per drug refill.

Flibanserin User Reviews

Flibanserin has been reviewed over 50 times on Drugs.com, which is a website that allows patients to write personal reviews of their experience with prescription medications.

We cannot verify the accuracy or authenticity of any of these reviews, but we find this site to be a useful resource because it’s one of the few user-generated-content sites for prescription drugs.

Flibanserin has an average rating of 3.3/10 at the time of writing this article, which is the worst average rating of any drug we’ve reviewed on Illuminate Health to this point. A full 50% of users have rated the drug 1/10.

The top positive review comes from a user named “Lisa” who claims the drug successfully increased her sexual desire:

“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 the drug caused them to experience uncomfortable side effects:

“From day one I felt different. 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. But of course I would do anything for my husband. Finally I visited my doctor and explained it to her. My RESTING heart rate was at 140 bpm.”

Natural Libido Enhancers

There exist some natural compounds which may be able to enhance female libido based on medical research. These compounds are available over-the-counter (OTC) which means they don't require a prescription and can be purchased online.

A dietary supplement containing the amino acid l-arginine was found in a medical review to enhance female sexual function. Women taking the supplement reported a frequency of intercourse nearly 3x higher than those taking placebo pills. Sexual satisfaction scores averaged around 70% for the l-arginine group, and only averaged 37% for the placebo group.

L-arginine is a nitric oxide precursor, and nitric oxide increases arterial blood flow to the genitals. This is why this amino acid may increase sexual desire.

An herbal compound called maca was found in a clinical trial published in 2008 to resolve sexual dysfunction caused by Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitor (SSRI) medications. 17 of the 20 trial participants were women. SSRI drugs often cause sexual side effects in both sexes.

The study authors documented that 3 grams (g) of maca daily improved sexual desire and sexual function. More clinical research is needed to validate this effect, but maca has been used to enhance sexual function for hundreds of years by traditional cultures. It’s native to the Andes mountains in South America.

We would recommend gelatinized maca rather than raw maca, because raw maca can cause digestive issues. It’s an indigestible plant starch, much like potato (which you wouldn’t consume raw). Many supplements use raw maca because it’s cheaper, but gelatinized maca is available for purchase as a food product in many health food stores. One brand we’ve noted selling organic gelatinized maca is Navitas Naturals.

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Conclusion

Flibanserin does improve sexual desire and function in women, but not to an impressive degree in our opinion. The medication only appears to increase satisfying sexual events by 0.5 per month on average, and this level of results may not be worth the risk of side effects.

Flibanserin causes side effects in some patients like nausea and dizziness, and the drug can interact with alcohol increasing risk of fainting. We would recommend that patients with alcohol use disorders speak with their doctor about alternative libido medications without negative alcohol interactions.

L-arginine and gelatinized maca root are dietary supplements which are proven in medical research to enhance female sexual function, and don’t seem to cause any significant side effects if dosed properly.





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