Dr. Jennifer Berman – Sexual Health Expert in Los Angeles

Table of Contents

What is Addyi?

Addyi is the most commonly prescribed treatment for a condition called hypoactive sexual desire disorder (HSDD). It is specifically meant for women who have not gone through menopause and do not have a history of low sexual desire. Addyi can also be used to treat women who experience low sexual desire with all forms of sexual activity, regardless of the type, situation or partner. It is an ideal treatment for women under 60 years of age who have a low sexual desire 75 to 100 per cent of the time for at least 6 months.


Women with HSDD are often troubled as persistently low sexual desire can be stressful and frustrating. The low sexual desire is not caused by medical or mental health problems, relationship problems or use of other drugs. Addyi does not sexual performance but instead treats HSDD or a lack of sexual desire in women.

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How does Addyi work?

It is important to establish that Addyi is a treatment only for premenopausal women and it is not a drug that boosts or enhances sexual performance. The continuous or recurrent lack of interest in sexual activity can cause significant distress or interpersonal difficulty.

Addyi works by heightening the levels of some neurotransmitters in the brain, which include dopamine and norepinephrine. At the same time, serotonin levels in the body are decreased. Addyi particularly increases the level of the neurotransmitters that play a role in regulating sexual desire. It is thought that Addyi targets the 5-HT1A receptor which is a subtype of serotonin receptor, and the alpha-2A adrenergic receptor, a subtype of norepinephrine receptor, in the brain. Addyi is able to increase sexual desire while decreasing sexual inhibition by influencing and regulating the activity of these receptors.

However, it is essential to understand that Addyi is not a hormone and it is not like Viagra and other medications that improve blood flow to the genitals. Addyi is a medication that needs to be taken consistently and the results might take weeks to appear. Addyi should not be used as a recreational drug or to improve sexual performance. Consult a doctor to understand your condition and if Addyi is the right treatment for you.

What does Addyi do to your body?

Addyi is a non-hormonal, multifunctional serotonin agonist antagonist (MSAA). Addyi claims to work by correcting any imbalance of the neurotransmitters in our brain. Neurotransmitters are brain chemicals that regulate bodily functions and also have an effect on things like mood, appetite and sexual desire. Dopamine and norepinephrine are neurotransmitters that are both responsible for sexual excitement. Addyi boosts the levels of Dopamine and norepinephrine in the body while simultaneously decreasing the levels of other neurotransmitters that are responsible for low sexual desire and sex drive.

What precautions should I take before starting Addyi?

As is the case with many other drugs, there are a few precautions that must be followed to ensure your safety. Addyi has the tendency to interact with alcohol and CNS depressants including diphenhydramine, opioids, hypnotics, benzodiazepines. These should not be taken together as this poses a risk of side effects becoming even more pronounced. Consult a doctor and provide details of all medications and supplements you take. The consumption of Addyi should be avoided is you are or plan on getting pregnant or post-pregnancy when you are still breast feeding. The best way to understand all precautions that need to be followed with Addyi is to consult a professional doctor who can provide you with all of the details you need to know.

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Side effects of Addyi

While Addyi can treat HSDD and help women experiencing a diminished sexual drive, allowing them to improve their interpersonal and intimate relationships. However, as is the case with all drugs, some women might experience some minor side effects. It is important to note that Addyi is specifically meant for women who have not experienced menopause and who have not had problems with low sexual desire in the past. If the HSDD is caused by medical issues or mental health problems then Addyi is not a suitable treatment option. The side effects of Addyi can include:

These are common side effects which might be experienced by some women but usually subside within a day or two at most. Other side effects can include:

Addyi should never be taken without a proper consultation and diagnosis from a doctor. To ensure that this is followed, Addyi is only available through the Addyi risk evaluation and mitigation strategy (REMS) Program as there is a risk of severe low blood pressure and fainting (loss of consciousness) with alcohol use.

Who can take Addyi?

Addyi is the first drug approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for the treatment of HSDD. However, it is specified that Addyi is only meant for women under 60 years of age who have not gone through menopause and who are not experiencing low sexual drive due to mental health or other medical issues.
HSDD can be acquired if your sexual desired were at a normal level previously and is generalized when the low libido does not change no matter the sexual activity or partner. Other prerequisites required to be a candidate that qualified for Addyi is that the low libido should be a cause of marked distress or an interpersonal difficulty.


You might not be a suitable candidate for Addyi if your low sex drive is caused by:

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How is Addyi taken?

Addyi is available in the form of pills and is consumed as an oral 100 mg dose before bed every night. If you are a candidate that qualifies to take Addyi for the treatment of HSDD, it is very important to follow any and all instructions that the doctor provides. Addyi must be taken right before going to bed as there is a risk of injury due to low blood pressure, fainting, and sleepiness. This can happen regardless of whether any alcohol is consumed or not. Taking Addyi with other drugs such as antihistamines, pain pills, anxiety drugs or sedatives can enhance the drowsiness which is why Addyi should only be consumed before bed.

How effective is Addyi?

Our bodies are complex machines and treatments such as Addyi can have different results for different patients. The condition of the patient, the symptoms they experience and the effect that the treatment has on them can vary depending on various factors such as hormonal balance, lifestyle choices, medical history and mental health.

Many women have reported achieving excellent results with the help of Addyi. It is important to note that the treatment is specifically meant for a certain subset of women, particularly those that have not experienced menopause and do not have a history of medical complications and mental health problems.

How long does Addyi take to work?

When it comes to the results of Addyi, there are mixed reports from women. If you are consuming Addyi, you can expect improvement in your sex drive within 8 weeks. However, results can come sooner or later than the average time of 8 weeks. Some women report feeling their libido being heightened in as little as two or three weeks.