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What is flibanserin for treating low libido in women?

Flibanserin (sold under the brand name Addyi) is the first drug approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for treating low sexual desire in women. Though people may refer to it as the "female Viagra," it works in a very different way. Erectile dysfunction drugs for men, such as Viagra, work mechanically by increasing blood flow to the penis, because erectile dysfunction is caused by poor blood flow -- really a matter of plumbing. Low sexual desire, on the other hand, is a much more complicated problem, and flibanserin appears to work by changing the balance of certain chemicals in the brain. The drug was originally studied as an antidepressant.

The approval of flibanerin in August 2015 was controversial. Many doctors feel that the benefits (in trials, women who took the drug had about one more satisfying sexual experience per month compared to those who took a placebo) aren't impressive enough to outweigh the potential side effects (which can include low blood pressure, fainting, dizziness and sleepiness). Others hail flibanserin as a breakthrough, because it provides the first treatment option for a common problem. 

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.