Flibanserin (oral)

Overview

Flibanserin is a drug that is given to some women who are suffering from hypoactive sexual desire disorder (HSDD). It is strictly only given to those women who have not yet gone through menopause. Under no circumstances is this drug a substitute for low sexual desire due to taking certain drugs, having relationship problems, or those caused by mental or medical disorders. It should also not be used as a means to improve sexual performance. Due to the specific nature of the drug and the limitations in those who can take it, it is only available via a prescription from your doctor.

Condition(s) treated

  • Hypoactive sexual desire disorder (HSDD)

Type of medicine

  • Tablet

Side Effects

As well as helping treat HSDD, Flibanserin does have the potential to cause a range of different side effects at the same time. Some of these side effects can be more serious, whilst others are less serious and will pass as the treatment progresses. However, directly below is a list of more worrying side effects. If you experience any of these at any time, then you should contact your doctor immediately for medical assistance:

More common

  • Confusion

Less common

  • Sensation of spinning

Rare

  • Fever

As mentioned, you could also experience a range of other side effects which are a less immediate cause for concern, and which may simply pass as your body adjusts to the medicine. Directly below is a list of such side effects. If you are experiencing any of these, and are at all worried, you can still contact your doctor. They can answer any questions you have and may be able to advise on ways to reduce your symptoms.

Less common

  • Difficulty sleeping

Beyond this, there is the possibility of other side effects occurring. If you do experience any unusual effects that are worrying you, you can still contact your doctor. They are best placed to advise you on whether or not you should adjust your dosages.

Dosage

Below you can find the average doses of Flibanserin given to patients suffering from HSDD. Do be aware that dosages given to different patients can differ greatly. This is due to a number of factors, such as the extent of the problem, as well as other drugs you may be taking. You should not alter your doses at all based on what is below. If you do feel like your dosage should be altered, you should first consult your doctor, who can advise you of any necessary changes.

  • Adults. Take 100mg once per day before bed.

If you miss your dose for any reason, you should simply skip the missed dose and return to your normal schedule. It is important that you never double dose.

To get maximum benefits from this medicine, you should take it as directed by your doctor. This means not missing any doses, and not taking it any more frequently. Once you have finished a course of treatment, you should stop taking it.

Upon receiving the medicine, you will also find a Medication GUide. You should familiarise yourself with this and then address any questions to your doctor.

You should only ever take Flibanserin before bedtime. Taking it at any other time of the day could increase your risk of fainting, accidental injury, sleepiness, or low blood pressure.

Interactions

Flibanserin does have the potential to interact with other drugs you are taking. These interactions can range in their severity, but it is often the case that you should try to avoid them. In some cases, however, such interactions may be necessary. Be sure to make your doctor aware of all drugs you are currently taking, so that they can assess the risk you are at of experiencing unwanted interactions. This includes all prescription and nonprescription drugs, as well as any supplements and herbal remedies that you take. Directly below is a list of medicines which it is recommended you do not take at the same time as Flibanserin. As such, your doctor may need to prescribe an alternate form of treatment.

  • Ketoconazole

Here is a list of drugs which it is usually not recommended you take alongside Flibanserin. However, in many cases, it may be necessary to take both. To help limit any interactions, it may be that your doctor will limit the doses of one or both of the medicines.

  • Pentazocine

Taking Flibanserin with the following drugs would increase the risk of certain side effects occurring. To help limit these side effects, your doctor may need to alter one or more of the dosages you receive or how often you take them.

  • Digoxin

As well as to drugs, Flibanserin could potentially interact with other parts of your dietary intake. This includes when and what you eat, drink, and smoke. You should inform your doctor of your typical dietary intake each day. They may need to make adjustments so as to limit any unwanted interactions from occurring. In particular here are some things that it is recommended you do not consume whilst taking Flibanserin.

  • Grapefruit juice

Finally, other existing medical problems you have could interact negatively with Flibanserin. You should, therefore, inform your doctor of your full medical history. In particular, here is a list of medical problems that do not interact well with Flibanserin.

  • A history of mental illness or depression

Warnings

Before your doctor is able to prescribe you Flibanserin, they will first need to fully examine you so as to assess whether or not it is the best drug for you to take. As a part of this assessment, they may need to get a firm understanding of any allergies you have. This includes any allergies to this or other drugs, as well as to foods, animals, dyes, or preservatives.

Be aware that Flibanserin is not a suitable drug to be given to children.

Similarly, it is not a drug that is recommended for use in elderly patients. No efficacy or safety standards have yet been established.

As of writing, no adequate studies have yet been performed on the relationship between Flibanserin and breastfeeding women. Instead, you will need to discuss your circumstances with the prescribing doctor. They are best placed to weigh any potential risks against the benefits of taking this drug.

Your doctor will need to schedule regular appointments with you whilst you are taking Flibanserin. This is so that they can monitor your condition and check for unwanted effects. They may then need to adjust your dose if necessary.

If you are already using any of the following drugs, then you should not start taking Flibanserin.

  • Conivaptan (Vaprisol®)

Whilst taking Flibanserin you are unable to drink alcohol. Doing so will add to the effects you receive from alcohol, as well as any other CNS depressants you take. Examples of CNS depressants include;

  • Sedatives, sleeping medicine, or tranquilizers

You should discuss it with your doctor before you take any of these drugs at the same time as Flibanserin.

Whilst taking Flibanserin, do not drink grapefruit juice or eat grapefruit. Doing so will alter the amount of the medicine that is absorbed into your body, and will this alter the effects you receive from it.

If after 8 weeks you see no signs of improvement in your condition, then you should speak to your doctor. The same goes for if you notice any worsening in your condition.

You should avoid driving or performing any other dangerous tasks for at least 6 hours after you first take the medicine. This is because it can cause some people to become lightheaded, dizzy, or drowsy. As such, you should only perform these dangerous tasks once you are fully aware of how the Flibanserin effects you. You may find that getting up slowly from lying or sitting can help avoid unwanted lightheadedness.

Unless first cleared by your doctor, do not start taking any other medicines whilst on Flibanserin. This includes all prescription and nonprescription drugs, as well as any vitamin or herbal supplements.

Storage

You should store your Flibanserin in a safe place away from the reach of children, as it can be potentially harmful. Ensure that it is kept sealed at all times and at room temperature. Do not allow it to freeze, and keep it away from moisture, heat, and direct light. Once you have finished your course of treatment, dispose of any remaining medication in a safe and sensible manner as advised by your doctor. You should never keep using it beyond a doctor's prescription, and should never use any medicine that is out of date.

Summary

Id you are currently suffering from hypoactive sexual desire disorder and are premenopausal, then it could be that Flibanserin is a great drug for helping to treat this condition. However, taking this drug can cause a wide range of side effects to occur and is known to interact with a wide variety of other drugs. It may be that the prescribing doctor will need to change other drugs you are currently taking, or alter certain aspects of your diet. A part of this means consuming no alcohol whilst taking Flibanserin, as it heightens the effects of the drug.

You may want to get assistance and supervision whilst performing certain tasks until you know how this drug affects you. It is best to have someone else drive you around, as dizziness or faintness is a fairly common initial side effect for many. If you do experience any of the more serious side effects listed above, then you should contact your doctor. Similarly, if you have any other questions about this drug, or would like your dose altered, your doctor is the best person to discuss this with.