Introduction: Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) are a widely used class of drug. Post-SSRI sexual dysfunction (PSSD) is a condition in which patients continue to have sexual side effects after discontinuation of SSRI use. The prevalence of persistent sexual side effects after discontinuing SSRIs is unknown. The recognition and study of PSSD will increase our knowledge base of this underreported and distressing condition.
Aim: To provide coverage of the current literature on PSSD, update information on the pathophysiology of PSSD, and discuss potential management options.
Methods: Comprehensive review of literature pertaining to PSSD.
Main outcome measures: The symptoms, classification, pathophysiology, diagnostic considerations, and management of PSSD were reviewed.
Results: Common PSSD symptoms include genital anesthesia, pleasure-less or weak orgasm, decreased sex drive, erectile dysfunction, and premature ejaculation. Different theories have been proposed to explain the pathophysiology of PSSD: epigenetic gene expression theory, cytochrome actions, dopamine-serotonin interactions, proopiomelanocortin and melanocortin effects, serotonin neurotoxicity, downregulation of 5-hydroxytryptamine receptor 1A, and hormonal changes in the central and peripheral nervous systems. The diagnosis of PSSD is achieved by excluding all other etiologies of sexual dysfunction. Treating PSSD is challenging, and many strategies have been suggested and tried, including serotonergic antagonists and dopaminergic agonists. There is still no definitive treatment for PSSD. Low-power laser irradiation and phototherapy have shown some promising results.
Conclusion: PSSD is a debilitating condition that adversely affects quality of life. Further studies are warranted to investigate the prevalence, pathophysiology, and treatment of PSSD. Bala A, Nguyen HMT, Hellstrom WJG. Post-SSRI Sexual Dysfunction: A Literature Review. Sex Med Rev 2018;6:29-34.
Keywords: Post-SSRI Sexual Dysfunction; Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors.
Copyright © 2017 International Society for Sexual Medicine. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.