Male sexual side effects associated with antidepressants: a descriptive clinical study of 32 patients

Int J Psychiatry Med. 1995;25(2):191-201. doi: 10.2190/1DHU-Y7L7-9GKG-V7WV.


Objective: This is a retrospective study to add to the existing body of clinical information regarding male sexual side effects associated with antidepressants. From the chart review, thirty-four out of eighty male patients were identified to have reported loss of libido, erectile difficulty, anorgasmia, and delayed ejaculation while receiving pharmacotherapy of selective serotonin reuptake blockers (fluoxetine, paroxetine, and sertraline); tricyclic antidepressants (nortriptyline, imipramine, amitriptyline, desipramine, and clomipramine); and a monoamine oxidase inhibitor (phenelzine).

Method: The authors also discussed the management of these sexual side effects by waiting for spontaneous remission, reducing the dosage level, and substituting the offending drug with other antidepressants.

Results: This article underscores the underreported nature of antidepressant-associated sexual dysfunction, the high incidence of SSRI-associated sexual side effects, equal potentials in causing sexual side effects among the three SSRI's, the low incidence rate of sexual adverse effects from bupropion, and the minimal need to add an antidote if the side effects are to be managed systematically.

Conclusions: Finally, male sexual side effects can occur randomly and involve any sexual phase randomly, and the treatment approaches are similar, regardless of the types of sexual dysfunction associated with antidepressants.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Antidepressive Agents / adverse effects*
  • Antidepressive Agents / therapeutic use
  • Depressive Disorder / drug therapy*
  • Depressive Disorder / psychology
  • Ejaculation / drug effects
  • Erectile Dysfunction / chemically induced*
  • Erectile Dysfunction / psychology
  • Humans
  • Libido / drug effects
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Orgasm / drug effects
  • Penile Erection / drug effects
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors / adverse effects
  • Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors / therapeutic use


  • Antidepressive Agents
  • Serotonin Uptake Inhibitors