The use of mirtazapine in a group of 11 patients following poor compliance to selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor treatment due to sexual dysfunction

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Mirtazapine, a noradrenergic and specific serotonergic antidepressant, displays strong serotonin (5-HT)2 blocking properties, which may be related to lack of sexual dysfunction. In our open-label study, after a wash-out period of 4-14 days, mirtazapine (30-45 mg/day) was administered for 6 weeks to six male and five female patients who discontinued treatment with selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) because of sexual dysfunction. The patients were moderately depressed, with baseline Hamilton Depression Rating Scale (17-item HAMD) scores between 19 and 24, and none of them experienced any sexual dysfunction prior to SSRI treatment. Efficacy was assessed weekly by 17-item HAMD, and adverse events were registered at the same time points. All patients completed the study. After 6 weeks of treatment, the individual 17-item HAMD scores were between 5 and 9, indicating significant improvement in depressive symptoms. None of the patients reported any sexual dysfunction symptoms. Other adverse events, mild and transient in nature, were reported only by three patients (somnolence in two, and weight gain in one patient). In conclusion, treatment with mirtazapine was effective in patients who are unable to tolerate SSRIs because of sexual dysfunction and demonstrated no effect on sexual function.

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