A placebo-controlled trial of bupropion SR as an antidote for selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor-induced sexual dysfunction

J Clin Psychiatry. 2004 Jan;65(1):62-7. doi: 10.4088/jcp.v65n0110.


Objective: This study reports the results of a placebo-controlled, double-blind comparison of bupropion sustained release (SR) as an antidote for sexual dysfunction versus placebo in 42 patients with selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI)-induced sexual dysfunction. Exploratory analyses of the association of testosterone and sexual functioning in women in the study were also performed.

Method: Patients with DSM-IV major depression who experienced a therapeutic response to any SSRI and were experiencing medication-induced global or phase-specific sexual dysfunction, as measured by the Changes in Sexual Functioning Questionnaire (CSFQ), were randomly assigned to receive either bupropion SR 150 mg b.i.d. or placebo for 4 weeks in addition to the SSRI. Total testosterone levels were assessed at baseline and week 4.

Results: The difference in global sexual functioning, based on the total CSFQ score, was not statistically significant between the 2 groups at week 4, nor were differences in orgasm, desire/ interest as measured by sexual thoughts, or self-reported arousal. There was a statistically significant difference between the 2 groups at week 4 in desire as measured by self-report feelings of desire and frequency of sexual activity. Desire/ frequency showed a significantly greater improvement among those patients receiving bupropion SR compared with placebo (Wilk's F = 5.47, df = 1, p =.024). Frequency was significantly correlated to total testosterone level at baseline (r = 0.36, p =.027) and at week 4 (r = 0.41, p =.025).

Conclusions: Bupropion SR, as an effective antidote to SSRI-induced sexual dysfunction, produced an increase in desire to engage in sexual activity and frequency of engaging in sexual activity compared with placebo. A larger study is needed to further investigate this finding.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Multicenter Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Administration, Oral
  • Adult
  • Antidepressive Agents, Second-Generation / administration & dosage*
  • Antidepressive Agents, Second-Generation / pharmacology*
  • Arousal
  • Bupropion / administration & dosage*
  • Bupropion / pharmacology*
  • Delayed-Action Preparations
  • Depressive Disorder / drug therapy*
  • Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Placebos
  • Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors / adverse effects*
  • Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors / therapeutic use
  • Sexual Dysfunction, Physiological / chemically induced*
  • Testosterone / blood


  • Antidepressive Agents, Second-Generation
  • Delayed-Action Preparations
  • Placebos
  • Serotonin Uptake Inhibitors
  • Bupropion
  • Testosterone