Exposure to serotonin selective reuptake inhibitors or serotonin noradrenaline reuptake inhibitors and sexual dysfunction: Results from an online survey

Int J Risk Saf Med. 2021;32(3):229-242. doi: 10.3233/JRS-200074.


Background: Post-SSRI Sexual Dysfunction (PSSD) is characterized by sexual and emotional symptoms associated to the exposure to Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRI) or Serotonin Noradrenaline Reuptake Inhibitors (SNRI).

Objective: The present study provides a comprehensive picture on demographic and clinical characteristics associated to PSSD.

Methods: An online survey was run on subjects self-declaring as affected by PSSD. The survey collected socio-demographic and clinical data via questions created ad hoc and three standardized scales (Arizona Sexual Experiences Scale, Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale, World Health Organization Wellbeing Index).

Results: A total of 135 subjects (115 males; mean age 31.9 ± 8.9 years) was analysed. The syndrome was more represented among young, heterosexual males after the exposure to SSRI/SNRI at relatively high doses. The major findings involved the temporal sequence of symptoms: 118 subjects had symptoms both during and after SSRI/SNRI administration, and 17 only after, thus deposing for a iatrogenic action of SSRI/SNRI. Different variables, represented by both emotional and sexual symptoms, accounted for the variability of the severity of the sexual dysfunction as well as of wellbeing.

Conclusions: Based on the present results, PSSD is a complex iatrogenic syndrome in need of being further studied and understood.

Keywords: PSSD; SNRI; SSRI; Sexual dysfunction; discontinuation.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Norepinephrine
  • Serotonin
  • Serotonin Uptake Inhibitors* / adverse effects
  • Sexual Behavior
  • Sexual Dysfunction, Physiological* / chemically induced
  • Sexual Dysfunction, Physiological* / epidemiology
  • Young Adult


  • Serotonin Uptake Inhibitors
  • Serotonin
  • Norepinephrine