‘Viagra’ for women: Types, how they work, and side effects – Medical News Today

‘Viagra’ for women: Types, how they work, and side effects – Medical News Today

Sildenafil (Viagra) treats erectile dysfunction in males. In the United States, two drugs have been approved to treat low libido in females. Some people call these medications “Viagra for females.”

Viagra is the trade name of a drug called sildenafil, which treats erectile dysfunction in males. Sildenafil can also treat pulmonary arterial hypertension in a person of any sex.

About 10% of females have a low sex drive. Some may take Viagra, off-label, to treat this condition, which was once called “hypoactive sexual desire disorder,” but is now called “female sexual interest/arousal disorder” (FSIAD).

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) have approved two drugs — flibanserin (Addyi) and bremelanotide (Vyleesi) — to address low desire or arousal in females. However, both are approved for use only in people who have not yet entered menopause.

This article describes the FDA-approved medications, including how they work and the possible side effects. It also explores alternative approaches.

The FDA has approved two drugs to address FSIAD:

Vyleesi (bremelanotide)

The FDA states that this medication can treat FSIAD in premenopausal females.

A person injects it into their thigh or stomach at least 45 minutes before having sex. The effects can last for up to 24 hours. People should not use the drug more than eight times per month.

Addyi (filbanserin)

Addyi was the first drug approved to treat FSIAD. Like Vyleesi, Addyi is designed for premenopausal people, but it comes as pills, not an injection

A person takes this drug daily before bed, even if they do not intend to have sex that day.

It can take up to 8 weeks to see an increase in sexual desire, although some people experience the effects much sooner.

Comparison table

The table below compares Vyleesi and Addyi:

Viagra is not FDA approved for use in females. To understand why, it can help to understand what Viagra was designed to do in the male body.

Usually, after sexual stimulation in a male, there is a release of nitric oxide, which increases levels of a regulatory agent in cells called cyclic guanosine monophosphate (cGMP).

This increase in cGMP causes smooth muscle relaxation, and it leads to increased blood flow to the penis, resulting in an erection.

In males, an erection goes down when an enzyme called phosphodiesterase type 5 (PDE-5) breaks down.

The active ingredient in Viagra is sildenafil. It blocks the action of PDE-5. This means that blood flow to the penis is increased, resulting in an erection that lasts longer.

Sildenafil is also the active ingredient in a drug called Revatio. This blocks PDE-5 in the smooth muscle of the lungs, which can help treat pulmonary arterial hypertension in a person of any sex.

Viagra is approved to treat erectile dysfunction in males. As the manufacturer states, Viagra is not FDA approved for females, including those who are pregnant.

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Source: https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/female-viagra-drugs-that-increase-sex-drive-and-can-women-take-viagra

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