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Letter to the Editor

Assessing Sexual Function of Patients Before Initiating SSRI Therapy

Timothy R. Berigan, DDS, MD

Published: August 1, 2001

Article Abstract

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Sir: The recent article in the Companion by Dr. Ferguson onthe adverse effects and tolerability of selective serotonin reuptakeinhibitors (SSRIs)1 is a superb review of the common sideeffects associated with one of the most widely prescribed medicationclasses in the United States. As more patients are diagnosedwith depression, in large part due to earlier recognitionand intervention on the part of primary care physicians, morepatients will be offered antidepressant therapy with its attendantrisks (i.e., side effects).The discussion about sexual dysfunction highlights the importanceand necessity of physicians who prescribe SSRIs, orany psychotropic, to obtain a thorough sexual function history,not only because patients may not disclose this informationunless prompted, but also because the dysfunction may be dueto their psychiatric illness.

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