Dr. David Healy: Seeking a Cure for Protracted, Medication-Related Sexual Dysfunction


This week on MIA Radio we interview Dr. David Healy. Dr. Healy is an internationally respected psychiatrist, psychopharmacologist, scientist, and author. A professor of psychiatry in Wales, David studied medicine in Dublin, and at Cambridge University. He is a former Secretary of the British Association for Psychopharmacology and has authored more than 200 peer-reviewed articles and 20 books, including The Antidepressant Era, The Creation of Psychopharmacology and his latest book, Pharmageddon, published in 2012.

David is a founder and CEO of Data Based Medicine Limited, which operates through its website RxISK.org, and is dedicated to making medicines safer through online direct patient reporting of drug side effects.

In this interview, we discuss Post SSRI Sexual Dysfunction (PSSD) and Dr. Healy’s novel and innovative approach to finding a cure.

A recent email to Dr. Healy starkly highlights the problem:

I took X for 16 years without any side effects. Stopped 7 months ago and all hell broke loose. Some of the side effects I got in the first week after quitting are: no libido, cold testicles/penis, pain around penis and anus, tinnitus, erectile dysfunction, tingling, numbness… 

Life is not very good these days.
I am married with beautiful children. They have lost their father. If I can do anything to help, don’t hesitate to get in touch. I would like to give you my biggest thanks for what you are doing and wish you all the best with the fundraising.

These videos explain PSSD and The RxISK Prize.

In the episode we discuss

  • How Dr. Healy came to set up Data Based Medicine and RxISK.org.
  • Why RxISK are focussing on Post SSRI Sexual Dysfunction (PSSD).
  • That genital numbness can occur very quickly upon taking an SSRI antidepressant and can also be triggered by drugs such as Roaccutane (isotretinoin) and Propecia (finasteride).
  • What led to setting up the RxISK Prize.
  • How people can get involved with the campaign.
  • That it’s often people not involved with healthcare who get motivated to take action.
  • How empowering it is to enable people harmed by pills to be part of the solution.

Relevant links

David Healy

PSSD – Professor David Healy (video)

The RxISK prize (video)

The RxISK Prize

The RxISK.org Newsletter

One hundred and twenty cases of enduring sexual dysfunction following treatment 

To get in touch with us email: [email protected]

© Mad in America 2017


  1. Another immensely powerful, important and compelling podcast from MIA.
    Such openness and integrity augments the empowering and motivating concept of the RxISK PRIZE.

    The importance of listening to patients and affording recognition when they report adverse drug reactions merits wider medical practitioner understanding.

    Sir William Osler insisted: – ” Listen to the patient, he is telling you the diagnosis”.

    This is surely of paramount importance in prescriber learning of, accepting and acknowledging prescription drug ADRs; – and in preventing the dismissal, rejection and isolation experienced by those injured by medication which is the current routine modus operandi.

    Thank you James and Professor Healy.

    TRM 123. Retired Consultant Physician.

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    • Thank you so much for listening TRM123 and for your feedback too. PSSD is a rarely discussed, but profoundly debilitating problem, I’m very grateful to Dr. Healy for his efforts to make a difference for those that struggle. Best wishes to you. James.

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  2. Great interview James, really informative. I wonder if people knew that the vast majority of antidepressant consumers will experience sexual dysfunction, would they agree to ‘treatment’? Would we have allowed our children to be prescribed an antidepressant if there was any chance that they would experience sexual problems, never mind suicidality? Not a chance!
    That some will be left sexually maimed after even short-term exposure, is just such a tragedy – with foetal and childhood exposure undoubtedly causing huge harm. This era of widespread SSRI-prescribing (for everything from menopause to compulsive shopping), will one day be seen as the utter madness that it undoubtedly is. Hopefully, with doctors like David Healy (and others like him) speaking out, this will come sooner rather than later.

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    • Thank you so much for your feedback Leonie. It was a shock to hear how quickly the drugs can cause numbing, pain and all the other issues too. You are right that if people really were given the facts about the risk of permanent damage to their sexuality, they would be seeking very different options for help with their mental health. I appreciate you taking the time to listen and to feedback too. Best wishes. James

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  3. James Holmes is a young man incarcerated in a vile prison system in USA after uncharacteristically becoming agressive enough to kill his father ,after taking ant depressants..suicide is a possibility for some, the adverse effects for many people can damage lives for ever yet it is allowed to continue – for all the rhetoric about compassion and listening to people it s almost as though ‘they’ are dispensable. Thankfully David and Mad in America are reaching those who must have thought there would be nowhere to turn after experiencing the degrading response from their doctors ,which silenced people from speaking the truth. Shame on them. Respect to Mad in America and DH and all those who speak out,

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  4. It is commendable that Dr. Healy is offering a prize for anyone finding a “cure” or solution to PSSD. It is certainly a profoundly debilitating and distressing disorder.

    I would, however, like to see a similar prize being offered for a cure or solution for the permanent brain damage, memory loss, cognitive dysfunction and personality changes caused by ECT, a “treatment” (brain damage therapy) he promotes and administers.

    I have PSSD. It concerns me far less than the damages I incurred from shock.

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  5. I agree with ‘truth’ – I am Amnesia – amnesia from ECT – ECT because doctors mistook benzo withdrawal syndrome for agitated depression and medicated me to insanity and forced ECT. I also would like a prize offered for the cure to doctor-induced memory loss. I am missing 25 years of my life. Does anyone care? No! I respect most of Dr. Healy’s work and promote the Rxisk website everyday but I feel he is blissfully ignorant of ECT damage.

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