Strategies for the Treatment of Antidepressant-Related Sexual Dysfunction
Sexual dysfunction and dissatisfaction are common symptoms associated with depression. Optimalantidepressant treatment should result in remission of the symptoms of the underlying illness andminimize the potential for short- and long-term adverse effects, including sexual dysfunction. Sexualdysfunction and dissatisfaction are frequently persistent or worsen with the use of some antidepressantmedications; this sexual dysfunction and dissatisfaction can have negative impact on adherenceto treatment, quality of life, and the possibility of relapse. Successful management of sexual complaintsduring antidepressant treatment should begin with a systematic approach to determine the typeof sexual dysfunction, potential contributing factors, and finally management strategies that should betailored to the individual patient. The basic physiologic mechanisms of the normal sexual phases oflibido, arousal, and orgasm and how these mechanisms may be interrupted by some antidepressantsprovide a framework for the clinician to utilize in order to minimize sexual complaints when initiatingand continuing antidepressant treatment. This article provides guidelines, based upon this type ofmodel, for the assessment, management, and prevention of sexual side effects associated with antidepressanttreatment.
J Clin Psychiatry 2001;62(suppl 3):35-43