Mechanisms and treatments of SSRI-induced sexual dysfunction

Perspect Psychiatr Care. 2002 Jul-Sep;38(3):111-6.


SSRI-induced sexual dysfunction affects 30% to 50% or more of individuals who take these drugs for depression. Biochemical mechanisms suggested as causative include increased serotonin, particularly affecting 5HT2 and 5HT3 receptors; decreased dopamine; blockade of cholinergic and alpha-1 adrenergic receptors; inhibition of nitric oxide synthetase; and elevation of prolactin levels. Five approaches to treatment include conservative approaches such as wait and see, decrease dosage, and drug holidays. More aggressive strategy for treating SSRI-induced sexual dysfunction are changing antidepressants and augmentation.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Antidepressive Agents / administration & dosage
  • Drug Therapy, Combination
  • Humans
  • Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors / adverse effects*
  • Sexual Dysfunction, Physiological / chemically induced*
  • Sexual Dysfunction, Physiological / prevention & control*


  • Antidepressive Agents
  • Serotonin Uptake Inhibitors