Objective: To assess the effects of a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor on semen parameters.
Design: Prospective study.
Setting: Academic medical center.
Patient(s): Thirty-five healthy male volunteers, 18-65 years old.
Intervention(s): Paroxetine administration for 5 weeks.
Main outcome measure(s): Serum hormone levels, semen analyses, percent sperm DNA fragmentation, and questionnaire assessment of sexual function assessed before, during, and 1 month after drug administration.
Result(s): Mean sperm DNA fragmentation was significantly higher for men while on paroxetine (30.3%) versus baseline (13.8%). Before paroxetine, 9.7% of patients had a terminal deoxynucleotidyl transferase dUTP nick end labeling (TUNEL) score>or=30% compared with 50% at week 4 of treatment. The odds ratio (OR) of having abnormal DNA fragmentation while taking paroxetine was 9.33 (95% confidence interval, 2.3-37.9]. Multivariate logistic regression correcting for age and body mass index confirmed this correlation (OR, 11.12). Up to 35% of men noted significant changes in erectile function and up to 47% of men reported ejaculatory difficulties on medication. Recovery to near-normal sexual function was noted after stopping treatment. Standard semen parameters were not significantly altered during paroxetine treatment.
Conclusion(s): In men with normal semen parameters, paroxetine induced abnormal sperm DNA fragmentation in a significant proportion of subjects, without a measurable effect on semen parameters. The fertility potential of a substantial number of men on paroxetine may be adversely affected by these changes in sperm DNA integrity.
Copyright (c) 2010 American Society for Reproductive Medicine. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.