Background: This study was conducted to determine the effect of bupropion on the sexual functioning of male and female outpatients who developed anorgasmia or delayed orgasm while receiving fluoxetine treatment for depression.
Method: Thirty-nine patients who satisfied criteria for participation in the study discontinued fluoxetine treatment and entered a 2-week washout phase followed by an open 8-week bupropion treatment phase. Three parameters of sexual functioning were followed throughout the study: orgasm function, libido, and satisfaction with overall sexual functioning. Depression was also evaluated at each visit.
Results: All patients reported orgasm delay and/or failure at the time of fluoxetine discontinuation. Orgasm function, libido, and satisfaction with sexual functioning improved during the 2-week fluoxetine washout period and during the bupropion treatment phase. Ninety-four percent of patients (29/31) had complete or partial resolution of their orgasm dysfunction at the end of bupropion treatment, and 81% of patients (25/31) were "much" or "very much" more satisfied with their overall sexual functioning. Most patients entered the study with decreased libido on fluoxetine. Libido was "much" or "very much" increased for 81% of patients (25/31) at the end of the study. In addition, depression scores on the Hamilton Rating Scale for Depression and Clinical Global Impressions-Severity scale significantly improved during the bupropion treatment phase. Finally, bupropion was well tolerated by most patients.
Conclusion: Bupropion may be an appropriate antidepressant for patients who develop sexual dysfunction during fluoxetine treatment or for whom sexual dysfunction is a concern.