Studying The Effects of Ristela® on Female Sexual Function in Women Taking Antidepressants
Bonafide Medical Advisor
It is fairly well known that those who are taking antidepressants may experience sexual side effects. For many women, SSRIs, a commonly prescribed class of antidepressants, diminish sexual interest, desire, performance, satisfaction, or all the above. These disruptive side effects are related both to the specific medication used and the particular individual person’s metabolism and genetic makeup.
The dietary supplement Ristela® by Bonafide®, is specifically formulated to improve physical arousal, orgasm and general sexual satisfaction in women. Ristela® works by enhancing blood flow to the genitals. Since antidepressant use is widespread in women, Bonafide recognized a real need to address this common and distressing issue. As such, Bonafide conducted a unique study, known as an open label experience trial, to assess whether Ristela might have a positive impact for women in this subsect.
What is an open-label experience trial?Most in-home user trials involve giving a product to a group of people and gathering information from them on their experience. Typically, a validated questionnaire is used to obtain information on the users’ experience. A validated questionnaire is one that has been used over and over and can be trusted for obtaining accurate and reproducible results. In other words, the results are reliable. An “open label trial” means that the participants are aware of what the product they are taking contains, and they are not unknowingly using a placebo.
Where there is need…As we all know, the female sexual experience is a hot topic, as it should be; and thanks to women finally having the conversation more openly, it’s becoming a more common area for expanding research. It’s important to note that women often have concerns surrounding sexual desire, arousal and orgasm. Desire is that intense feeling of wanting to want. Arousal entails the unmistakable physical signs of the sexual response, copious lubrication and engorgement with blood. Orgasm either is, isn’t or isn’t that great. And there is always room for improvement!
As mentioned above, many women take antidepressants; either in the short term or long term, and it has been well established that these medications can influence sexual function in women. Some can lessen desire, others can impair orgasm potential and some negatively impact both.
Why study Ristela in women taking antidepressants?Ristela is an over the counter supplement designed to enhance female sexual satisfaction, more specifically, physical arousal and orgasm.* It contains Pycnogenol® and Rosvita® Rose Hips extract, known antioxidants, as well as arginine and citrulline, powerful amino acids and substrates that work to enhance blood flow during the sexual response.
In Bonafide’s recent open label experience trial, the women involved were all taking common antidepressants and were also provided with an 8-week supply of Ristela.
Results of this trial demonstrated, that when taken consistently, Ristela effectively enhanced physical arousal and orgasm in women on antidepressants. Ristela was also shown to be well tolerated and its beneficial effects were noted in as early as two weeks into the study. These results were substantiated by a validated questionnaire, the FSFI, or the Female Sexual Function Index. The FSFI queries women about their level of sexual desire, arousal, orgasm as well as general sexual satisfaction and assigns a numerical score to answers both before and after using the study product – in this case, Ristela.
It’s all about blood flow, especially when you’re on an antidepressant
Most antidepressants work via neurotransmitters in the brain, some of which have an inhibitory effect on sexual function. In contrast, Ristela works by improving blood flow to the genitals during the sexual response. Blood vessels dilate and engorge due to increased nitric oxide production. This function is further enhanced with Ristela.
The results of this Ristela experience trial were clear. Ristela effectively ameliorated some of the sexual side effects of antidepressants and improved women’s overall sexual function, satisfaction, and quality of life.
Reinventing the wheel or building a better mousetrap?This unique experience trial evaluating Ristela and its use in women taking antidepressants is novel and important; so much so that results were presented at ISSWSH 2020, a meeting of the International Society for the Study of Women’s Sexual Health, that focuses on issues and nuances in the female sexual wellness space. While additional studies are needed to further substantiate this trial’s findings, these data points demonstrate that Ristela does have the potential to significantly improve quality of life and sexual satisfaction for all women and more uniquely, in those taking antidepressants. Remember sexual health and general health go hand in hand.
Alyssa Dweck, MS, MD, FACOG, Bonafide Medical Advisor, is a practicing gynecologist in Westchester County, New York. She provides care to women of all ages and has delivered thousands of babies. A graduate of Barnard College, she has a Master’s Degree in Human Nutrition from Columbia University and her Medical Degree from Hahnemann University School of Medicine in Philadelphia, now named Drexel University. Dr. Dweck currently practices in Mount Kisco, NY and Carmel, NY and admits to Northern Westchester Hospital in Mount Kisco, NY. She has been voted “Top Doctor” in New York Magazine and in Westchester County and has co-authored three books to date: “The Complete A to Z for your V,” “The Sexual Spark,” and “V is for Vagina.”