Post-SSRI sexual dysfunction: Patient experiences of engagement with healthcare professionals

Int J Risk Saf Med. 2019;30(3):167-178. doi: 10.3233/JRS-191005.


Objective: A petition to the European Medicines Agency provided an opportunity to collect reports of a specific adverse event from patients and healthcare professionals, along with details of clinicians' attitudes when asked to endorse patient reports.

Methods: We approached a cohort of patients reporting post-SSRI sexual dysfunction (PSSD) to an adverse event reporting website, The responses of patients on their interactions with healthcare professionals were subject to a qualitative analysis.

Results: A total of 62 participants from 23 countries provided details of their experiences. While some had received support and validation of their condition, many described a number of difficulties including a lack of awareness or knowledge about PSSD, not being listened to, receiving unsympathetic or inappropriate responses, and a refusal to engage with the published medical literature.

Conclusions: Healthcare professionals are nervous about or reluctant to engage with novel problems on a treatment. This is not widely appreciated and the reasons for this concern are not understood.

Keywords: Post-SSRI sexual dysfunction (PSSD); antidepressants; erectile dysfunction; genital anaesthesia; selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs).

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Attitude of Health Personnel*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Professional-Patient Relations*
  • Serotonin Uptake Inhibitors / adverse effects*
  • Sexual Behavior / drug effects
  • Sexual Dysfunction, Physiological / chemically induced*
  • Sexual Dysfunction, Physiological / psychology


  • Serotonin Uptake Inhibitors