Post-SSRI Sexual Dysfunction: Preclinical to Clinical. Is It Fact or Fiction?

Sex Med Rev. 2018 Apr;6(2):217-223. doi: 10.1016/j.sxmr.2017.11.004. Epub 2018 Feb 17.


Introduction: Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) are a widely used class of drug for various psychiatric disorders during the lifespan, including pregnancy, lactation, childhood, and adolescence. Deterioration in sexual functioning is a major and serious adverse effect of SSRIs. There is emerging evidence that SSRIs can have long-lasting effects on sexuality.

Aim: To summarize the long-lasting effects of SSRIs on sexuality, starting with animal models and continuing with the clinical experience of different investigators.

Method: A literature review of relevant publications in PubMed.

Main outcome measures: To assess the long-lasting effects of SSRIs on sexuality.

Results: Although the persistent effects of SSRIs on sexuality have been little studied in humans, animal studies suggest that SSRIs might cause permanent sexual dysfunction after ending SSRI exposure at a young age but not in adulthood in rats. There are no prospective randomized controlled trials in humans and the present evidence is derived from case reports, incidental research findings, and experiences of some internet communities.

Conclusion: There is some preclinical evidence from animal studies for enduring SSRI-induced sexual dysfunction, but the available clinical information could prevent a clear decision about the existence of post-SSRI sexual dysfunction, its pathophysiology, and its management. We need more research to fill in the gaps in our knowledge. Coskuner ER, Culha MG, Ozkan B, Kaleagasi EO. Post-SSRI Sexual Dysfunction: Preclinical to Clinical. Is It Fact or Fiction? Sex Med Rev 2018;6:217-223.

Keywords: Post-SSRI Syndrome; Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors; Serotonin; Sexual Dysfunction.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Biomedical Research
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Maternal Exposure
  • Pregnancy
  • Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors / adverse effects*
  • Sexual Behavior / drug effects
  • Sexual Behavior, Animal / drug effects
  • Sexual Dysfunction, Physiological* / chemically induced
  • Sexual Dysfunction, Physiological* / physiopathology


  • Serotonin Uptake Inhibitors