Sexual Dysfunction and Anti-Depressants (SSRI’s)

A study from 1997 found that about 60% of people (both men and women) experienced treatment-emergent sexual dysfunction after taking a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI). Treatment-emergent means that the sexual dysfunction was not present before they began taking the SSRI. It was not part of their prior depressive symptoms. About 25% of people experienced a particular symptom, genital anesthesia, which is only seen as a medication side effect.

A study from 1999 found that 55% of patients still had sexual dysfunction six months after discontinuing an SSRI.

An article from 2008 reported that studies found treatment-emergent sexual dysfunction to appear in somewhere between 36% to 70% of people taking antidepressants. The article documents how research has failed to test whether sexual dysfunction persists after discontinuing an SSRI, and that industry studies have under-reported sexual dysfunction as an adverse effect for many reasons.

An article in Medscape from 2016, reported the results of a survey of people taking antidepressants. Eighty-eight percent experienced sexual dysfunction after treatment, although 68% reported that they had some symptoms of sexual dysfunction as part of depression before treatment. Fifty-five percent saw their sexual dysfunction worsen after treatment with antidepressants.

Finally, an article from 2017 also mentions that studies consistently find that SSRIs cause sexual dysfunction in animals.