Background: The purpose of this study was to investigate the degree of correlation between sexual dysfunction and depression, anxiety, and somatic symptoms among patients with major depressive disorder (MDD) and to identify the dimension most predictive of sexual dysfunction.
Methods: One-hundred and thirty-five outpatients with MDD were enrolled and were treated with open-label venlafaxine 75 mg daily for one month. The Arizona Sexual Experience Scale-Chinese Version (ASEX-CV), Depression and Somatic Symptoms Scale (DSSS), Hamilton Depression Rating Scale, and Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale (HADS) were administered at baseline and at one-month follow-up and the improvement percentage (IP) of each scale posttreatment was calculated. Multiple linear regression was used to determine the dimension most predictive of the total ASEX-CV score.
Results: Seventy subjects (20 men, 50 women) completed the one-month pharmacotherapy and the four scales. The depression subscale of the HADS was most strongly correlated with the ASEX-CV scale and was the only subscale to independently predict the total ASEX-CV score at the two points. However, the somatic subscale of the DSSS was not correlated with any ASEX-CV item. At the endpoint, depression, anxiety, and somatic symptoms were significantly improved (IP 48.5% to 26.0%); however, very little improvement was observed in the total ASEX-CV score (IP -1.6%).
Conclusion: The severity of sexual dysfunction among patients with MDD was most correlated with the severity of the depressive dimension, but not the severity of the somatic dimension. Further studies are indicated to explore the relationships between sexual dysfunction, depression, anxiety, and somatic symptoms.