Sexual dysfunction with the use of antidepressants in a tertiary care mental health setting - a retrospective case series

J Pharmacol Pharmacother. 2011 Apr;2(2):128-31. doi: 10.4103/0976-500X.81913.


Sexual dysfunction affects patients' quality of life. It can occur secondary to physical or mental disorders, substance abuse and treatment with prescription drugs like antidepressants. We wanted to study the prevalence of sexual dysfunction associated with antidepressant use in the psychiatric unit of a tertiary care hospital and assess for causality, severity and preventability. We did a retrospective data collection from case records of patients on antidepressants from the Psychiatry outpatient clinic of a tertiary care teaching hospital during the period 1(st) January 2006 to 31(st) December 2006, excluding those with complaints of sexual dysfunction prior to treatment. Data are presented as a case series. Documented adverse events were subjected to analysis for causality, severity and preventability using Naranjo's, modified Hartwig and Siegel and modified Schumock and Thornton's Preventability scales respectively. Out of 169 patients, four patients developed sexual dysfunction (2.36%) associated with duloxetine, mirtazapine, trazodone and sertraline. We observed a possible causal relationship of mild to moderately severe ADR (sexual dysfunction) which was not preventable. Prevalence of antidepressant associated sexual dysfunction was lower than quoted in Western literature probably due to the retrospective nature of our study design. Active monitoring and intervention can greatly improve the quality of life and compliance to treatment.

Keywords: Antidepressants; causality; preventability; severity; sexual dysfunction.

Publication types

  • Case Reports