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Sexual side effects of antidepressants (Journal of Sex and Marital Therapy, 22, 209-215).

Sexual side effects of antidepressants. Journal of Sex and Marital Therapy, 22, 209-215.

Antidepressant drugs are commonly used to treat a number of psychiatric disorders such as major depressive disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, bulimia nervosa, and violent and aggressive behaviour. These drugs include tricyclics, monoamine oxidase inhibitors, bupropion, venlafaxine, nefazadone, and selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) such as fluoxetine, more commonly known as prozac.

Pre-release studies of drugs such as fluoxetine indicated low levels of sexual side effects due to drug treatment. However, according to the authors, antidepressant-induced adverse sexual effects are becoming more frequently reported by patients who use these drugs. In their paper, Margolese and Assalian review published studies which examine the sexual side effects of antidepressant drugs on the libido, excitement, and orgasm phases of human sexual response. "Antidepressants can have deleterious effects on any of these three phases" (p. 209).

From their review of the literature, the authors conclude that many of these medications can have adverse sexual side effects. For example, decreased libido has been reported in studies examining the sexual side effects of tricyclic and tetracyclic antidepressants, monoamine oxidase inhibitors, and SSRIs. For fluoxetine, studies have indicated decreased libido in 10% to 36% of patients. One study found decreased sexual response in 13% of patients treated with fluoxetine. Anorgasmia has also been reported as a side effect of fluoxetine in some cases.

The authors conclude their review by suggesting that the

[...] sexual side effects of antidepressant medications are important because they reduce the clinical acceptability of these drugs. Given that they are common, especially with the SSRIs, it is important for the clinician routinely to question their occurance, as patients are frequently reluctant to report such events. This will help ensure compliance and therefore increase the efficacy of antidepressant pharmacotherapy (p. 214).
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Author:H. MargoleseP. Assalian
Publication:The Canadian Journal of Human Sexuality
Date:Jan 1, 1996
Words:297
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