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July 14, 2016: “Female Viagra” Drug May Cause Dangerous Drop in Blood Pressure

The new drug Addyi, dubbed the “female Viagra”, is used to treat a condition known as female sexual interest/arousal disorder. Addyi, however, can cause a sudden, dangerous drop in blood pressure if taken with alcohol.

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Addyi Low Blood Pressure Testing

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The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved the drug after two previous rejections only after they required the developer of the drug, Sprout Pharmaceuticals, to do tests on alcohol consumption and the risk of sudden low blood pressure.

This study was of particular interest because Sprout conducted a test of only 25 people, 23 of whom were men. Several subjects passed out or had dangerous blood pressure drops of 22 to 48 points.

Insufficent Testing of Addyi Low Blood Pressure Risk

The FDA staff member reviewing the drug suggested that this testing was insufficient, as female nondrinkers may have an even more severe reaction to the drug. This staff member concluded that the drug shouldn’t be approved until a more thorough test was done involving more women.

Despite warning from this staff member, the FDA approved Addyi.

National Center for Health Research Concerns Regarding Addyi Low Blood Pressure Risk

Diana Zuckerman, president of the National Center for Health Research, a nonprofit think tank that analyzes health research, said in response to the FDA’s approval of Addyi: “I disagree with that on so many different levels […] You call something a medical condition; you find a solution for it; the solution actually doesn’t work and it has substantial risk,” she said. “The scientists say don’t approve it and the FDA approves it.”
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Low Blood Pressure Information

Provided by Medlineplus.gov

Low blood pressure occurs when blood pressure is much lower than normal.
This means the heart, brain, and other parts of the body do not get enough blood. Normal blood pressure is usually between 90/60 mmHg and 120/80 mmHg.

The medical name for low blood pressure is hypotension.

Symptoms of low blood pressure may include:

  • Blurry vision
  • Confusion
  • Dizziness
  • Fainting (syncope)
  • Lightheadedness
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Sleepiness
  • Weakness

Possible Complications

Falls due to low blood pressure in older adults can lead to a broken hip or spine fracture. These injuries can reduce a person’s health and ability to move about.

Sudden severe drops in your blood pressure starves your body of oxygen. This can lead to damage of the heart, brain, and other organs. This type of low blood pressure can be life threatening if not treated right away.

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