Antidepressant-Induced Sexual Dysfunction: Review, Classification, and Suggestions for Treatment

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Sexual function, an important component of quality of life, is often affected by antidepressant treatment. Reports associate antidepressant medications with a wide range of sexual disorders of desire, arousal, and orgasm, and with the occurrence of sexual pain. Fewer sexual dysfunctions have been reported with bupropion, nefazodone, and mirtazapine than with the monoamine-oxidase inhibitors, tricyclic antidepressants, selective serotonin-reuptake inhibitors, and venlafaxine. Sexual dysfunctions may occur in more than half of patients treated with selective serotonin-reuptake inhibitors, but patients may not readily divulge sexual information unless a clinician is knowledgeable and proactive in assessment. Once an antidepressant-induced sexual dysfunction is detected and its nature is characterized, an appropriate treatment intervention can be chosen in order to alleviate the sexual disorder and enhance treatment compliance. This review classifies antidepressant-induced sexual dysfunctions, discusses assessment and differential diagnosis, and describes currently reported treatment approaches.

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