Antidepressant Use Linked to Sexual Dysfunction, Why Aren’t Prescribers Discussing It?

Research sheds light on the impact of antidepressants on sexual dysfunction, emphasizing the need for patient-physician communication.


In recent years, there has been a growing awareness surrounding the adverse long-term effects of antidepressants, particularly concerning treatment-emergent sexual dysfunction (TESD). A new study published in the Journal of Affective Disorders Reports sheds light on this issue, offering insights from patients diagnosed with Major Depressive Disorder (MDD) who have experienced antidepressant treatment.

One of the key findings of the study was the prevalence of TESD among respondents, with approximately 19% reporting sexual dysfunction associated with at least one antidepressant. What’s concerning is that despite the significant impact of sexual dysfunction on patients’ quality of life, many did not discuss these issues with their healthcare providers. This lack of communication underscores the need for improved patient-physician dialogue in the management of depression and antidepressant therapy.

“The impact of TESD was based on respondents’ experiences with current ADs and use of ADs in the prior 12 months rather than identified from retrospective claims data, in which TESD is highly underreported,” the authors write. 
“Labeling for SSRIs, SNRIs, and some serotonin modulators now requires inclusion of information about sexual side effects in the warnings and precautions and patient counseling sections in package inserts of serotonin reuptake inhibitors, as well as in patient medication guides.”

The study also sheds light on the factors influencing patients’ decisions to continue, switch, or discontinue antidepressant treatment. Provider recommendations, treatment efficacy, and medication side effects were identified as major determinants in these decisions, highlighting the importance of personalized care approaches in managing MDD.

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