Saturday, February 5, 2011

The truth about Antidepressants and Sexual Dysfunction.

The truth about Antidepressants and Sexual Dysfunction.

The Nasty Little Secrets behind the SSRIs

What they Never Tell You about Antidepressants. 

Almost every day now, or so it seems to me, I am hearing from young people who are taking antidepressant drugs and who are suffering from a sexual dysfunction as a direct consequence. In men their dysfunction may be erectile dysfunction, loss of libido or sex drive, loss of sensation during ejaculation or loss of ability to climax at all. In women their situation may be similar – loss of interest in matters sexual, an inability to feel orgasm when it eventually arrives, or, worst of all, an inability to reach orgasm at all. These, I think you will have to agree, are pretty devastating side effects for a single drug to have.

When you get your antidepressant dispensed to you by your friendly Community Pharmacist there will be, tucked inside the box, a Patient Information Leaflet. This is an EU or FDA generated document that is supposed to mean something. It is supposed to impart at least some useful information. Let’s look at it for Prozac then, the most popular antidepressant of them all. Under side effects in the category
• Urogenital System and Reproductive Disorders : we have: difficulty in passing urine, passing urine too frequently, poor sexual performance, prolonged erections and the production of breast milk.

Then, under this misinformation there is even more untruths:

Most of these side-effects are likely to disappear with continued treatment.

This leaflet was last approved by the FDA and the MHRA (UK) in October 2010. No mention of female inability to orgasm, no mention of male ejaculatory failure, no mention of sexual anhedonia or sexual anaesthesia in both men and women and no mention of loss of libido or sex drive in both men and women. All the consumer of modern antidepressants is being told is that there maybe some poor sexual performance. This is meaningless, unfair and disingenuous. But unfortunately, it gets much worse.

Clearly the manufactures of these antidepressants want the consumers to continue consuming in spite of obvious side-effects. To do this they mislead them even further by asserting:

Most of these side-effects are likely to disappear with continued treatment.

With respect to the negative sexual effects of the SSRI antidepressants these most certainly do not disappear with continued use. In fact it has been my experience that they get progressively worse with continued use. And not alone that, and this is the really shocking bit, the negative side-effects on human sexuality that modern antidepressants can have, do not disappear even long after the medication has been stopped. Doctors who treat sexual dysfunction on a regular bases as I do, are beginning to now recognise a new post SSRI phenomenon called Persistent Sexual Anaesthesia. In my view it is nothing short of criminal that this possibility is not even hinted at on the Patient’s Instruction Leaflet that comes with the drugs.

If your sex-life has been adversely affected in any way by antidepressants then I would welcome hearing from you. The more people that know about this the better.


  1. Top article about this common problem that few people really understand, thank you for bringing this problem to light and dispelling some of the myth's that surreound the use of anti-depressants.

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