The sympathetic skin response located in the penis as a predictor of the response to sertraline treatment in patients with primary premature ejaculation

J Sex Med. 2014 Nov;11(11):2801-8. doi: 10.1111/jsm.12654. Epub 2014 Aug 8.


Introduction: The pathologic mechanisms of primary premature ejaculation (PPE) are complex and multifactorial, and hyperactivity of the sympathetic nervous system is one of the mechanisms.

Aim: To examine the effects of sertraline on sympathetic nervous system activity and assess the predictive value of the sympathetic skin response located in the penis (PSSR) on the response to sertraline treatment in PPE patients.

Methods: Sixty-one patients with PPE were recruited. Each received 50 mg sertraline daily for 8 weeks. Before and after the experiment, the patients were evaluated for PSSR tests and sexual performance parameters. Additionally, based on the latency of PSSR, we divided the patients into a normal PSSR group and an abnormal PSSR group, and compared the sertraline treatment efficacy between the two groups.

Main outcome measures: Changes in intravaginal ejaculation latency time (IELT) and the Chinese premature ejaculation index-5 (CIPE-5), and the latencies and amplitudes of PSSR after sertraline treatment.

Results: Overall, 58 (95.1%) patients completed the entire study and were analyzed. After the 8-week sertraline treatment, compared with those of pretreatment, IELT and CIPE-5 scores were significantly increased (both P < 0.001), and the amplitudes and latencies of PSSR in the PPE patients were remarkably decreased and prolonged, respectively (both P < 0.001). In addition, the changes of the latencies of PSSR were positively correlated with the increment of IELT (r = 0.375, P = 0.004). The treatment outcome was better in patients with a baseline abnormal PSSR than in those with a baseline normal PSSR (P = 0.021).

Conclusions: These results suggest that clinical improvement in response to sertraline in the PPE patients, at least in part, is mediated through reducing sympathetic nervous system activity indexed by PSSR. Measurement of the PSSR appears to provide useful information for predicting treatment responses in the PPE patients.

Keywords: Autonomic Nervous System; Medical Management of Premature Ejaculation; Sertraline; Sympathetic Skin Response.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Penis / innervation*
  • Penis / physiopathology
  • Premature Ejaculation / drug therapy*
  • Premature Ejaculation / physiopathology
  • Sertraline / therapeutic use*
  • Skin / innervation*
  • Skin / physiopathology
  • Sympathetic Nervous System / drug effects
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Sertraline