Roxanne Dryden-Edwards, MD
Dr. Roxanne Dryden-Edwards is an adult, child, and adolescent psychiatrist. She is a former Chair of the Committee on Developmental Disabilities for the American Psychiatric Association, Assistant Professor of Psychiatry at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, Maryland, and Medical Director of the National Center for Children and Families in Bethesda, Maryland.
William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR
Dr. Shiel received a Bachelor of Science degree with honors from the University of Notre Dame. There he was involved in research in radiation biology and received the Huisking Scholarship. After graduating from St. Louis University School of Medicine, he completed his Internal Medicine residency and Rheumatology fellowship at the University of California, Irvine. He is board-certified in Internal Medicine and Rheumatology.
In this Article
- Depression facts
- What is a depressive disorder?
- What are myths about depression?
- What are the types of depression, and what are depression symptoms and signs?
- Depression symptoms and signs in men
- Depression symptoms and signs in women
- Depression symptoms and signs in teenagers
- Depression symptoms and signs in children
- What are the causes and risk factors of depression?
- Postpartum depression
- How is depression diagnosed?
- What treatments are available for depression?
- What is the general approach to treating depression?
- What about sexual dysfunction related to antidepressants?
- What about discontinuing antidepressants?
- What are complications of depression?
- What is the prognosis for depression?
- How can depression be prevented?
- What about self-help and home remedies?
- How can someone help a person who is depressed?
- Where can one seek help for depression?
- What is in the future for depression?
- Where can people find more information about depression?
- Depression FAQs
- Find a local Psychiatrist in your town
What about sexual dysfunction related to antidepressants?
The SSRI antidepressants can cause sexual dysfunction. SSRIs have been reported to decrease sex drive (libido) in both men and women. SSRIs have been reported to cause inability to achieve orgasm or delay in achieving orgasm (anorgasmia) in women and difficulty with ejaculation (delay in ejaculating or loss of ability to ejaculate) in men. Sexual dysfunction with SSRIs is common though the exact incidence is not clearly known. Furthermore, sexual side effects have also been reported with the use of other antidepressant classes such a MAOIs, TCAs, and dual-action antidepressants.
Management of sexual dysfunction due to SSRIs includes the following options:
- Decrease the SSRI dose. This option may be appropriate if the patient is on high doses of an SSRI. Reducing the SSRI dose may also diminish the antidepressant effect. Remember, patients should never change medications and medication doses on their own without permission and monitoring by his/her doctor.
- Trial of sildenafil (Viagra) or other sexual-enhancement medication. Studies in men whose depression has responded to SSRI but have developed sexual dysfunction showed improvement in sexual function with Viagra. Men taking Viagra reported significant improvements in arousal, erection, ejaculation, and orgasm as compared to men who were taking placebo, although Viagra generally does not increase one's libido.
- For men who do not respond to Viagra (and for women with sexual dysfunction due to SSRI), switching from SSRI to another class of antidepressants may be helpful. For example, bupropion, mirtazapine, and duloxetine may have no sexual side effects or significantly less sexual side effects than SSRIs.
- For patients who are unable to switch from SSRIs to another class of antidepressants either because of lack of tolerance or lack of therapeutic response to the other antidepressants, the doctor may consider adding another medication to the SSRI. For example, some doctors have reported success by adding bupropion to SSRIs to improve sexual function. However, more clinical trials are needed to determine whether this strategy really works.
- Some doctors also may use buspirone to improve sexual function in patients treated with SSRIs. More clinical studies are needed to determine whether this strategy works.
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