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Antidepressants and sexual dysfunction

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Werneke U, Northey S, Bhugra D. Antidepressants and sexual dysfunction. Objective: 

Many patients with depression suffer from sexual dysfunction and sexual dysfunction is a recognized side-effect of antidepressants. The aim of this review was to examine the prevalence of psychosexual dysfunction associated with antidepressants, and to review treatment options which are specific to the affected component of sexual functioning and antidepressants. Method: 

Comprehensive literature review using Medline and Cochrane databases. Results: 

Up to 70% of patients with depression may have sexual dysfunction. Tricyclic antidepressants, selective-serotonin reuptake inhibitors and venlafaxine are most and the non-serotonergic antidepressants and duloxetine least likely to produce sexual dysfunction. Pharmacological treatment options include antidepressants less likely associated or ‘antidotes’ to reverse sexual dysfunction. Conclusion: 

Sexual dysfunction may be a preventable or treatable side-effect of antidepressants. Patients need routinely to be asked about sexual function to identify problems early. If sexual dysfunction is ignored it may maintain the depression, compromise treatment outcome and lead to non-compliance.
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Keywords: adverse effects; antidepressive agents; receptor; review; serotonin; sexual dysfunction

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Department of Psychology, University of Surrey, Surrey

Publication date: 01 December 2006

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