Sexual side effects are among the most common complaints about antidepressants. According to the U. Department of Health and Human Services, clinical depression affects 1 in 5 adults in the United States.
The popular medications known as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors or SSRIs see box can help lift people out from under a dark cloud of depression. But there are some side effects from antidepressants, including those that can affect your sex life. In addition to reducing interest in sex, SSRI medications can make it difficult to become aroused, sustain arousal, and reach orgasm.
Sexual dysfunction is an underdiscussed adverse effect to selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors SSRIs and may increase the risk for discontinuation and nonadherence to antidepressant pharmacotherapy. Given the prevalence of depression, health care providers should educate patients about SSRI-associated sexual dysfunction in order to promote patient awareness and medication adherence. This study evaluated primary literature from to to identify SSRI-related sexual side effects, therapeutic alternatives, and treatment strategies. The results indicate that paroxetine is associated with the greatest rate of sexual dysfunction among the SSRIs.
Loss of sexual desire and difficulties performing during intimate encounters can be symptoms of depression, but they can also be side effects of many medications used to treat depression. While antidepressants are often integral to managing depression, sexuality is an important piece of a healthy life for many people. Experiencing sexual side effects from antidepressants can be frustrating and disheartening, but there are ways to address them.
Resulting sexual dysfunction can impair quality of life and intimate relationships and discourage patients from taking antidepressants Box 12. Although most reports have focused on SSRIs, all antidepressant classes have been associated with sexual dysfunction, with prevalence likely influenced by differences in neurotransmitter modulation Table 2. A recent study reported similarly high rates with mirtazapine, but its small sample size limits conclusions about side effect prevalence with this drug.
Women are two and a half times more likely than men to take an antidepressant medication -- and for manyit's affecting their sex lives. According to a Johns Hopkins health alert30 to 70 percent of people on an antidepressant will experience sexual problems as a side effect. Streicher explained that a low sex drive is a common side effect of Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors, the most commonly prescribed type of antidepressant.
In patients being treated for depression, which antidepressants have a low risk of sexual side effects? Bupropion Wellbutrinnefazodone Serzoneamitriptyline Elaviland moclobemide Manerix, a reversible inhibitor of monoamine oxidase type A not available in the United States have been shown to cause less sexual dysfunction than selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors SSRIs. Information from references 1 through 4.
Sexual side effects are common with antidepressants in both men and women, so your concern is understandable. Effects on sexual function can include:. The severity of sexual side effects depends on the individual and the specific type and dose of antidepressant.
One side effect of some of the most commonly prescribed antidepressants is what doctors would call sexual dysfunction. But for those who experience it, it might as well be called ruining something that used to be fun. Annoyingly, these antidepressants may affect pretty much every part of sex — including wanting it, aka your libido ; getting aroused; and actually having an orgasm. And none of that is very fun when you're already dealing with mental health issues.