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Six things you need to know about "pink" Viagra

by , 23 March 2016

Flibanserin, also known as "pink" or female Viagra, was approved by the FDA in late August last year. Although decades of research has been funnelled into male sexual dysfunction, the female libido has been mostly relegated to herbalists (horny goat weed, anyone?) and Kundalini yoga.

In fact, Pfizer, the makers of Viagra, abandoned research into the dwindling female libido back in 2004, although it affects 1 in 10 women. The problem is a bit more complicated for women than for men. After all, Viagra is used to treat erectile dysfunction — a uniquely male issue that's easily resolved by increasing the blood flow to the male sexual organ.

Researchers have found that a lack of a sexual appetite in women is more often caused by unbalanced neurotransmitters rather than a lack of blood flow to the genital region. Although the FDA has approved 26 drugs for male sexual dysfunction, flibanserin is the first drug for females.

This lack of research kick-started Even the Score — an organisation that campaigned for gender equality regarding sexual dysfunction issues. Originally intended as an antidepressant, "pink Viagra" works by attempting to balance the neurotransmitters that regulate lust.

Unfortunately, it's not aimed at women who have always suffered from a lack of desire. Instead, it's targeted toward women who once had a thriving libido that diminished due to menopause or other issues. So, what are some key facts about pink Viagra? Read on for all the important stuff you need to know.

Six facts about flibanserin - the female Viagra

#1: Flibanserin is aimed at women who suffer from (HSDD)
Hypoactive Sexual Desire Deficiency, or HSDD, is one of the most common sexual dysfunctions that women experience. It’s categorised by a perennial lack of sexual thoughts and feelings. It excludes women who are stressed, using drugs, or experiencing abuse. HSDD is often brought on by menopause.
 
#2: Unlike other antidepressants, it encourages the release of dopamine
Most antidepressants release serotonin, which can dampen sexual desire. Dopamine increases it. The metaphorical faucets for both serotonin and dopamine are located in the frontal cortex of the brain, which is where flibanserin works. Perhaps there is some truth to the notion that the male brain is located further south.
 
#3: If you use pink Viagra, say goodbye to drinking and hooking up
To clarify, out of participants in a study, casual drinkers weren’t affected by taking flibanserin and having a small glass of wine. But if you’re the type who likes to pound shots all night, this drug is not for you. Binge drinkers found a significant drop in blood pressure, which resulted in passing out ... yikes!
 
#4: It’s a daily thing
Unlike Viagra, with which you can pop a pill just before sex, flibanserin requires a daily dose to be effective.
 
#5: Is it on the market yet?
Flibanserin hit the market in October last year. It’s not yet known whether it will be marginalised by our local health insurance companies here in South Africa, or whether Medicare or Medicaid will offer it.
 
#6: Are there natural alternatives?
Jumping into a new daily pill regimen can be off-putting. Aside from the horny goat weed, what are some alternatives? Experts suggest that cutting down on sugar and caffeine will boost your dopamine levels.
 
Alternatively, try taking L-tyrosine — a natural supplement that increases dopamine production in the brain. Some users have said that it can boost your sex drive in just a few hours. It also bolsters your metabolic rate and can help battle depression.
 
If you’re suffering from a lack of desire, try the green route first. But if a persistent lack of interest has been sucking the romance out of your relationship, a new hope could be just around the corner.

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