An Open Trial of Oral Sildenafilin Antidepressant-Induced Sexual Dysfunction

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Abstract

Background:

Sildenafil is a selective inhibitor of cyclic GMP-specific phosphodiesterase type 5 that has been associated with greater improvement of erectile function compared to placebo among men with erectile dysfunction. The goal of our study was to evaluate its efficacy in a small sample of outpatients with antidepressant-induced sexual dysfunction.

Methods:

We studied the first 14 depressed outpatients (9 men and 5 women; mean age: 46.4 ± 8.4) who were consecutively treated with oral sildenafil. Twelve of the 14 patients were treated with an SSRI and 2 with mirtazapine. All patients were prescribed oral sildenafil tablets at the initial dose of 50 mg q.d. p.r.n., with the possibility of increasing the dose to 100 mg q.d. p.r.n., if clinically indicated. We administered a sexual functioning questionnaire derived from the Guided Interview Questionnaire for females and males and from the Arizona Sexual Experience Scale to all patients before and after at least 4 weeks of treatment with oral sildenafil. The mean sildenafil dose in our 14 patients was 57 ± 18 mg/day.

Results:

All 14 subjects completed the follow-up assessments and no subjects discontinued the drug prematurely. We observed statistically significant improvements in all domains of sexual functioning, including libido, arousal, orgasm, sexual satisfaction, and (in males only) erectile function, with a 69% rate of patients reporting themselves as much or very much improved. Oral sildenafil treatment appeared to be very well tolerated, with only 1 out of 14 (7%) patients reporting an adverse event (hot flashes).

Conclusions:

Our findings of statistically significant improvements in all domains of sexual functioning in a sample of 14 men and women with antidepressant-induced sexual dysfunction suggest that this agent may represent an efficacious approach to this population.

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