How does new libido-boosting drug for women work?

The Meals and Drug Administration (FDA) lately authorized a new drug to deal with low sex drive in women.

However how precisely does the drug work, and what makes it completely different from the opposite medicine available on the market?


The drug, known as bremelanotide (model title Vyleesi) has been authorized to deal with premenopausal ladies with hypoactive sexual need dysfunction (HSDD), a situation during which low sexual need causes private misery, the FDA said in a statement. It’s only the second FDA-approved drug for HSDD in ladies.

Ladies self-administer the injection below the pores and skin of the stomach or thigh at the least 45 minutes earlier than anticipated sexual exercise. Ladies shouldn’t take a couple of dose of bremelanotide inside a 24-hour interval or greater than eight doses per thirty days.

In a research of greater than 1,200 premenopausal ladies with HSDD, 25 p.c of those that took bremelanotide noticed some enhancements of their reported sexual need scores, in contrast with 17 p.c who took a placebo.

Bremelanotide binds to receptors within the mind known as melanocortin receptors, which play a role in many biological functions, corresponding to metabolism and meals consumption, pores and skin pigmentation and ache regulation. Nevertheless it’s unclear precisely how the drug works to spice up sexual need, the FDA stated.


Nevertheless, the principle principle is that bremelanotide works by growing dopamine — a mind chemical concerned in reward processing — in sure elements of the mind, stated Sheryl Kingsberg, chief of the Division of Behavioral Drugs at College Hospitals Cleveland Medical Heart, who has studied bremelanotide. This, in flip, permits ladies to “course of erotic stimulation as rewarding,” stated Kingsberg, who has obtained consulting funds from AMAG Prescribed drugs, which markets Vyleesi, and Palatin Applied sciences, which developed the drug.

Kingsberg instructed Dwell Science that it is theorized that ordinary sexual operate depends on a steadiness of excitatory and inhibitory indicators within the mind, and HSDD is the results of both not sufficient excitation or an excessive amount of inhibition. Inside this line of considering, bremelanotide is hypothesized to advertise the excitation response by releasing dopamine, she stated.

The one different FDA-approved drug for HSDD is flibanserin (model title Addyi). Flibanserin acts on a distinct mind receptor, and it partially blocks the manufacturing of the mind chemical serotonin, Kingsberg stated. Serotonin is believed to dampen intercourse drive partly by inhibiting the excitatory dopamine system, in accordance with a 2017 overview in The Journal of Sexual Medicine.

The 2 medicine additionally differ of their dosing frequency — flibanserin must be taken day by day at bedtime, whereas bremelanotide is taken as wanted. Medication used to deal with male sexual dysfunction, corresponding to sildenafil (model title Viagra), primarily goal an enzyme known as phosphodiesterase 5 (PDE5), which performs a job in regulating blood movement to the penis. By blocking the enzyme, sildenafil’s total impact is to extend blood movement to the penis, which ends up in an erection. Nevertheless, sildenafil doesn’t enhance intercourse drive.

The commonest negative effects of flibanserin are sleepiness and dizziness, whereas the most typical facet impact of bremelanotide is nausea, Kingsberg stated.

In research of bremelanotide, 40 p.c of ladies skilled nausea, mostly with their first injection of the drug, and 13 p.c wanted to take remedies for his or her nausea, the FDA stated. Nonetheless, greater than 90 p.c of ladies who skilled nausea stayed within the drug trial, suggesting that both their nausea was delicate or they felt that the advantages of the drug outweighed the facet impact, Kingsberg stated.


Bremelanotide should not be utilized in individuals with uncontrolled high blood pressure or these with coronary heart illness, the FDA says. As well as, sufferers ought to cease taking bremelanotide after eight weeks if they do not expertise an enchancment of their sexual need and associated misery.

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Initially printed on Live Science.

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