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October 19, 2015

Female sexual desire drug hits the market

Addyi is the first prescription drug aimed at increasing a woman's libido

Drugs Sex

Addyi, which debuted on the market Saturday, is the first prescription drug for boosting women's sexual desire. But it's certainly not going to be the last.

As CBS News reports, the drug may open up a wave of interest in the drugs that target female sexual problems. The drug, manufactured by Sprout Pharmaceuticals, has also spurred controversy because the FDA rejected it twice before approving it in August.

Even though Addyi (pronounced add-ee) has been nicknamed "the female Viagra" and the "little pink pill," it works quite differently. While Viagra increases blood flow, it does not directly target the brain to increase libido, which Addyi does.

Psychology professor Kim Wallen told CBS News, "This is the first time that a drug, for either men or women, has been approved strictly to increase sexual desire. That legitimizes many other drugs that are in development."

RELATED STORY: Does 'female Viagra' pathologize asexuality? 

For example: Palatin Technologies, based in Cranbury, New Jersey, wants women to be able to inject an arousal hormone straight into their bodies when needed. The company is developing such an injector and hopes to submit it to the FDA in 2017.

Critics have noted that Addyi (flibanserin) has only modest effectiveness and can cause nausea, fatigue and dizziness.

In addition, Addyi can cause fainting if mixed with alcohol, so users must abstain from drinking. Comedian Stephen Colbert seized on this fact when he ribbed the drug during his late-night talk show.

"Because nothing gets you in the mood like staring at your long-term partner stone-cold sober," he joked.

One user of Addyi, however, told CBS that the drug revived her marriage.

"It just brought me back to where I was as far as being flirty and playful," said 52-year-old Amanda Parrish of Nashville. "I went back to the days of leaving notes on his window, in his car, on his mirror in the morning."

Read the full story here.