Avlimil

Avlimil

For Patients & Caregivers

Avlimil has been shown in a small unpublished study to improve sexual function in normal women.

Avlimil is a dietary supplement that contains sage leaf, red raspberry leaf, kudzu root extract, red clover extract, capsicum pepper, licorice root, bayberry fruit, damiana leaf,valerian root, ginger root, and black cohosh root. It is being promoted to relieve symptoms of female sexual dysfunction. Sexual dysfunction may involve loss of sexual desire, arousal, difficulty in maintaining arousal, painful intercourse, or difficulty in achieving orgasm. This may result from factors such as stress, hormonal imbalances, use of antidepressants, menopause, and cancer treatments. The manufacturer claims that use of Avlimil results in improved sexual response. The herbal components of Avlimil are thought to enhance sexual satisfaction by increasing blood flow to the sex organs and by promoting muscle relaxation. A small unpublished study showed that Avlimil had a positive effect on sexual response in normal women.
Avlimil has not been studied in cancer patients.

Female Sexual Dysfunction:
One unpublished study showed that Avlimil can improve sexual function in women when compared to placebo.

Sexual dysfunction could be a result of other complex underlying physical, biological, or psychological disorders. Patients should consult and be monitored by a physician when using this product..

The Federal Trade Commission charged the marketers of Avlimil in making false and unsubstantiated claims. Avlimil’s ingredients are not the same as the formula used in the clinical study cited in the advertisements (5).

Some of the ingredients such as sage, kudzu, red clover, licorice, and black cohosh in Avlimil may have estrogenic effects. They can potentially interfere with the action of tamoxifen and other products containing estrogen. Patients who have hormonal sensitive cancers should therefore avoid this product.

  • Minor irritation
  • Stomach upset
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For Healthcare Professionals

Avlimil is a dietary supplement that is being promoted to help alleviate symptoms associated with female sexual dysfunction. It consists of sage leaf, red raspberry leaf, kudzu root extract, red clover extract, capsicum pepper, licorice root, bayberry fruit, damiana leaf, valerian root, ginger root, and black cohosh root. Sexual dysfunction may involve loss of sexual desire, difficulty in maintaining arousal, painful intercourse, or difficulty in achieving orgasm. It may result from factors such as stress, hormonal imbalances, cancer treatment involving surgery, radiation, chemotherapy or hormone therapy, use of antidepressants, or menopause. Avlimil is thought to enhance sexual satisfaction by increasing blood flow and by promoting muscle relaxation. Some of the components may improve circulation.
Results from in vitro and in vivo assays showed that Avlimil exhibits both estrogenic (at low concentration) and antiestrogenic (at higher concentrations) effects in a dose dependent manner (4). A small unpublished clinical trial involving 49 women found Avlimil to have a positive effect on sexual response (1). However, the ingredients in the commercial product are different from those used in the study (3).
Avlimil has not been studied in cancer patients. Since this product contains botanical ingredients that have estrogenic effects, it is not appropriate for patients with hormone sensitive cancers.

  • Female sexual dysfunction

The herbs sage, kudzu, red clover, licorice, and black cohosh that are present in Avlimil have estrogenic effects and have been used for relief of menopausal symptoms. Damiana leaf is purported to be an aphrodisiac but scientific proof is lacking. Capsaicin, a component of capsicum, can cause depolarization of C-fiber polymodal nociceptors and release of substance P which can heighten sensitivity (2). Manufacturers of Avlimil claim that the herbal components improve circulation that leads to increased blood flow to the genital tissue and also help muscle relaxation.

Sexual dysfunction could be a result of other complex underlying physical, biological, or psychological disorders. Patients should consult and be monitored by a physician when using this product.

The Federal Trade Commission charged the marketers of Avlimil in making false and unsubstantiated claims. Avlimil’s ingredients are substantially different from the formula used in the clinical trial cited in the advertisements (3).

Since this product exhibits estrogenic effects, it may not be appropriate for patients who have hormonal sensitive cancers.

  • Following ingestion of Avlimil, minor irritations including stomach upset have been reported (1).

Sage, kudzu, red clover, licorice, and black cohosh may have estrogenic effects. They can potentially interfere with action of tamoxifen and other products containing estrogen.

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Email your questions and comments to aboutherbs@mskcc.org.

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