Antidepressant Medications: A Review Of The Evidence For Drug-induced Sexual Dysfunction.
Published 2002 · Psychology, Medicine
BACKGROUND Sexual dysfunction is recognised as a potential side effect of antidepressant therapy. However, there is little detailed information on the prevalence of drug-induced sexual dysfunction or the differences, if any, between available drugs. This article is a critical review of the literature in the area. METHODS English-language studies on sexual dysfunction and depression or antidepressant treatments were identified by searching Medline and supplemented by manual review of their reference lists and recent journal issues available in a library. Trials of antidepressant use in anxiety disorders were identified from a Medline search and their adverse events tables scanned for data on sexual dysfunction. All trials were assessed according to predefined criteria. RESULTS Sexual dysfunction is widespread in the healthy non-depressed population and is a recognised symptom of depression and/or anxiety disorders. Sexual dysfunction has been reported with all classes of antidepressants (MAOIs, TCAs, SSRIs, SNRIs and newer antidepressants) in patients with depression and various anxiety disorders. Numerous studies have been published, but only one used a validated sexual function rating scale and most lacked either a baseline or a placebo control or both. None met all of the pre-defined assessment criteria. LIMITATIONS The search techniques may have missed some studies and publication bias cannot be ruled out. CONCLUSIONS The existing literature confirms sexual dysfunction as a possible adverse event of all antidepressants, but it is not sufficiently robust to support claims for differences in the incidence of drug-induced sexual dysfunctions between existing antidepressant therapies. Prescribing decisions should be based on a careful assessment of the benefits and risks of therapy in the individual patient.