Effects of antipsychotics on sexual and endocrine function in women: implications for clinical practice

J Clin Psychopharmacol. 2003 Jun;23(3 Suppl 1):S27-32. doi: 10.1097/01.jcp.0000084035.22282.31.


Typical antipsychotic agents are commonly associated with hyperprolactinemia, which, in turn, leads to sexual dysfunction. The mechanism of action underlying this clinical phenomenon is mediated by the dopamine-blocking action of typical antipsychotic medications, which results in excessive prolactin secretion and secondary effects on gonadal function. This antipsychotic-induced sexual dysfunction is unacceptable to patients and is associated with nonadherence to medication, impacting on the overall clinical outcome and treatment success. Development of first-line atypical antipsychotic agents that do not affect prolactin production is therefore an important advance for patients requiring long-term antipsychotic therapy.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Antipsychotic Agents / adverse effects*
  • Antipsychotic Agents / therapeutic use
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Endocrine Glands / drug effects*
  • Endocrine Glands / metabolism
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Hyperprolactinemia / blood
  • Hyperprolactinemia / chemically induced
  • Infertility, Female / blood
  • Infertility, Female / chemically induced
  • Prolactin / blood
  • Randomized Controlled Trials as Topic / statistics & numerical data
  • Sexual Behavior / drug effects*
  • Sexual Behavior / physiology


  • Antipsychotic Agents
  • Prolactin