The impact of mental illness and psychotropic medications on sexual functioning: the evidence and management

J Sex Med. 2009 May;6(5):1200-11; quiz 1212-3. doi: 10.1111/j.1743-6109.2009.01255.x.


Background: Sexual dysfunction (SD) occurs frequently in patients with psychiatric illness.

Methods: The published literature on SD in patients with a psychiatric illness and/or taking psychotropic medications was reviewed.

Results: SD prevalence and type was found to vary with the specific psychiatric illness and medication treatment. Assessment is complicated by the presence of preexisting or comorbid sexual disorders or medical illness affecting sexual function. Direct questioning about sexual function before treatment and throughout the course of therapy is essential to establish baseline sexual functioning, patient preferences regarding medication side effects, and to identify medication-associated SD. A limited number of management strategies for SD in psychiatric patients have been systematically studied.

Conclusions: SD with psychiatric illness and its treatment requires early identification, and incorporation of patient preferences for successful management.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mental Disorders / complications*
  • Mental Disorders / drug therapy
  • Psychotropic Drugs / adverse effects*
  • Sexual Dysfunction, Physiological / etiology
  • Sexual Dysfunction, Physiological / therapy
  • Sexual Dysfunctions, Psychological / etiology
  • Sexual Dysfunctions, Psychological / therapy


  • Psychotropic Drugs