Sexual dysfunction in patients with schizophrenia treated with conventional antipsychotics or risperidone

Neuropsychiatr Dis Treat. 2009:5:47-54. doi: 10.2147/ndt.s4766. Epub 2009 Apr 8.


Objective: To better understand sexual dysfunction in patients with schizophrenia and its associations with prolactin and reproductive hormones.

Methods: This was a secondary analysis of an open-label, one-day study (N = 402). The primary objective of the study was to assess the prevalence of hyperprolactinemia in patients with schizophrenia who had been treated with conventional antipsychotics or risperidone. Other atypical antipsychotics available at the time of the study were not included due to a more favorable prolactin profile.

Results: The majority of patients (59% of females and 60% of males) reported impairment of sexual function. In postmenopausal females, risk of impaired sexual interest was increased by 31% for every 10 ng/ml increase in prolactin (p = 0.035). In males, lower testosterone was associated with higher prolactin (p < 0.001) and with orgasmic (p = 0.004) and ejaculatory dysfunction (p = 0.028).

Conclusion: These findings suggest that hyperprolactinemia may be associated with sexual dysfunction. They also provide more information on the relationships between prolactin, reproductive hormones, and sexual dysfunction. Sexual dysfunction is an understudied yet important consideration in the treatment of schizophrenia. More attention is warranted in this area as it may provide opportunities for improved quality of life and adherence to treatment for patients.

Keywords: antipsychotics; hyperprolactinemia; risperidone; schizophrenia; sexual dysfunction.