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Girl Smarts: 'Female viagra' is a thing again — Here's what you need to know

But Addyi, which is the brand name for flibanserin (a.k.a. "female Viagra") is undergoing a revival-and it's che...

'Female viagra' is a thing again — Here's what you need to know

But Addyi, which is the brand name for flibanserin (a.k.a. "female Viagra") is undergoing a revival-and it's cheaper than ever.

You probably heard about how stoked people were when "female Viagra" hit the market in 2015. And then…it kind of went MIA.

But Addyi, which is the brand name for flibanserin (a.k.a. "female Viagra") is undergoing a revival-and it's cheaper than ever. (Think: $99 per month if you're paying out-of-pocket; $25 if insurance covers the drug. It used to cost $800 a month.)

Fact: Addyi doesn't work the same way as Viagra.

Women also won't need to see an in-person doctor to get an Addyi prescription, Bloombergreports. They can just go to a website, get put in contact with a doctor, chat over the phone, and potentially end up with a prescription.

So, female Viagra is back, baby! But there are a few things you should know about the drug before you run to the doctor for a prescription.

Who is Addyi for?

If your sex drive has been ebbing and flowing lately, or you're not in the mood after a long day at work, Addyi isn’t for you.

The drug is actually designed to address a condition known as hypoactive sexual desire disorder (HSDD), says women’s health expert Jennifer Wider, M.D. While it's pretty common for your sex drive to drop here and there thanks to hormonal changes, medications, and stress, HSDD is much more severe.

Fact: Addyi's promised benefits don't work for every woman.

It's characterized by a chronically low sex drive (think: more than three months), to the point where it causes significant distress to you and your partners, according to the International Society for Sexual Medicine. One in 10 women have HSDD, making it one of the most common female sexual health complaints.

Women who are post-menopausal may benefit the most from Addyi-though that's not to say it won't work for pre-menopausal women, too. “The initial clinical trials were targeting pre-menopausal women, but the studies that included post-menopausal women showed positive results,” Wider says.

How long does it take for Addyi to kick in?

Here's how it works: The drug targets your brain chemistry, specifically neurotransmitters and chemicals in your brain that work to increase your libido.

So, even though Addyi gets a lot of comparisons to “regular” Viagra, it doesn’t actually work the same way-while Viagra causes an immediate physical reaction for dudes (hello, erection), Addyi targets your brain.

Instead of popping a pill and getting a lady-boner 30 to 60 minutes later, Addyi needs to work up to a certain level in your body and adjust your brain chemistry. According to their website, you're supposed to take one pill daily, right before you go to bed. And it can take up to four to six weeks to kick in, Wider says.

There are potential side effects

Women who take the drug are at an increased risk of severe low blood pressure and fainting, according to the Addyi website. Nausea, dizziness, and fatigue are also potential issues. And it's worth noting: You’re not supposed to drink alcohol while you’re on Addyi, as it can increase the risk of those side effects.

Addyi reviews have been mixed

Like most drugs, this doesn’t work for everyone. “Studies show that not everyone responds to it, but it does help a statistically significant portion of the patients with HSDD,” Wider says.

One woman told WomensHealthMag.com that the drug made her wetter than she’d been in a while. "I wasn't a horny mom running around trying to have sex with everyone-it just made me feel more open to doing the deed and more like myself again," she said. "It’s amazing to think I finally had my libido back."

Another woman told Bloomberg that after taking the drug, "I went from maybe having sex zero times, maybe once every three months, to about once or twice a month.”

Still others haven't seen any big changes after taking the drug. As WomensHealthMag.com previously reported, researchers in the Netherlands found the effects of Addyi underwhelming for most women in their study.

Bottom line: If it seems like your libido is on a permanent vacation, you may benefit from Addyi. Check with your doctor to see if "female Viagra" is the right solution for you.

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