In spite of significant coverage in the media about ‘Female Viagra’, it isn’t actually a genuinely effective, nor licensed form of treatment for female sexual dysfunction. As such, the term is misleading, and in the absence of a legitimate viagra product for women, it should be ignored.

There is a drug called Flibanserin (branded as Addyi), which does fulfil a sexual purpose for women, but its effects aren’t physical. It doesn’t have a beneficial impact on blood flow in patients. 

Instead, Addyi is thought to help regulate imbalances of the chemicals dopamine and norepinephrine (linked to arousal) in the brain and lower serotonin, which is connected to inhibition.

Although Flibanserin is referred to as ‘female viagra’, then, it’s an inaccurate name for the drug, and there isn’t a female equivalent of the popular male drug. It was given this label purely because it was the first drug that was applied to sexual dysfunction in women. 

Addyi is used to treat hypoactive sexual desire disorder (HSDD) in females, having received approval from the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in August 2015. Research has found the drug to enhance sexual experiences by between 0.5 and 1 every month. 

What is hypoactive sexual desire disorder?

HSDD is a condition which concerns a long-term loss of libido, and a lack of desire for sex or sexual relations - to the extent that it can make relationships problematic. 

It is believed to be the most prevalent form of sexual dysfunction amongst women.

It’s a condition which can be hard to quantify given that peoples’ sex drives may vary. Factors such as mental health and medication can also make its severity more difficult to identity from one individual to the next, and make it problematic to diagnose in the first place. 

What is Lady Era? What does it do?

Lady Era is a drug which consists of the same active ingredient as Viagra (sildenafil), but this doesn’t mean that it has the same effect on the body. 

In the absence of sufficient evidence to establish that it treats female sexual dysfunction, it isn’t an approved form of treatment in the UK, and anyone selling the product to people in the UK is operating illegally. 

You can find more information about illegal and fake forms of ED treatment here

Purchasing Lady Era from online sellers in other countries is risky, as it’s very difficult to ascertain if the sellers are legitimate. It’s also not easy to definitively determine which countries the drug is legal in. 

Although a number of studies have analysed the impact of sildenafil on sexual dysfunction amongst women, the results have been very inconsistent and haven’t reflected that the ingredient is successful in addressing female sexual dysfunction. 

There are currently no plans to introduce Lady Era as a licensed drug in the UK. 

What about herbal products that are said to bolster sexual performance amongst women?

There are a number of herbal products marketed on increasing female sexual function, but these medications are not licensed or authorised treatments either.  

Prelox is a herbal medicine that has shown some promise in studies, with certain evidence supporting that women of late reproductive age or post-menopausal females may benefit from using it. The drug contains the ingredient L-arginine, an amino acid which is thought to increase the amount of nitric oxide in the body. Nitric oxide is understood to be key to sexual function in women. 

Another chemical in Prelox, Pycnogenol, when used in conjunction with L-arginine, also appears to enhance females’ sexual function. Desire, satisfaction, arousal and lubrication all seem to improve.

Given that it’s a herbal supplement, Prelox is not available from your doctor or on prescription, but they may be able to offer alternative medicines. 

It may be worth trying Prelox as a treatment for sexual dysfunction. You should however ensure that you read the label prior to use as it may contain ingredients that you are allergic to. Prelox can also have certain side effects, such as abdominal pain, diarrhoea, low blood pressure and dizziness, and its cost may be off-putting for some people. 

How else can female sexual dysfunction be treated?

In terms of alternatives to drugs and supplements, making adjustments to your lifestyle may help to address sexual dysfunction. Maintaining a balanced diet, reducing your alcohol intake, giving up smoking and exercising regularly can all be beneficial.  

If you’re post-menopausal, you may be encountering difficulties with sexual function as a consequence of a shortage of hormones. In this event, you should discuss hormone replacement therapy with your GP.

There may be a psychological cause for any sexual dysfunction that you are experiencing. In these circumstances, a sex therapist may be able to talk through problems with you, and offer strategies and input that will help to resolve difficulties. 

Sexual dysfunction is common, and is nothing to feel embarrassed or ashamed about. Your doctor will be able to help you to identify a suitable therapist.

Speaking to your partner, friends or family members may also help.

Page last reviewed:  24/07/2020