Female sexual side effects associated with selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors: A descriptive clinical study of 33 patients

W. W. Shen, J. H. Hsu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objective: After the advent of selective serorosin reuptake inhibitors on the U.S. market in 1988, American psychiatrists have been faced with more choices of antidepressants for the treatment of depression. The prescribing of SSRIs has been increasing in popularity because they are easily titrated by the physicians and tolerated by patients. However, the SSRI use is frequently associated with female sexual dysfunction. The aim of this study was to describe these SSRI-associated female sexual side effects. Methods: In a retrospective series, clinic records of 110 female SSRI-treated outpatients were reviewed for loss of or decreased libido, orgasmic disturbances (anorgasmia or delayed orgasm), as well as clinical management patterns to alleviate sexual side effects. Results: Twenty-one fluexetine-, nine paroxetine-, and five sertraline-treated cases with female sexual inhibition were identified. The fates of SSRI-associated sexual adverse effects and clinical managements of restoring these side effects were described. Conclusions: With some limitations in interpreting the data, the findings of this study suggest that SSRI-associated female sexual dysfunction occurs at a higher rate than we previously thought, equal potentials in implicating female sexual side effects among three SSRIs, and the absence or the low incidence of female sexual adverse effects from bupropion, and that these side effects can be managed by waiting for a spontaneous remission, dosage reduction of SSRIs, substitution with bupropion and other antidepressants, or the use of an antidote.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)239-248
Number of pages10
JournalInternational journal of psychiatry in medicine
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jan 1 1995
Externally publishedYes


  • anorgasmia
  • antidepressants
  • cyproheptadine
  • delayed orgasm
  • female
  • human
  • loss of libido
  • selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors
  • sexual adverse effects
  • sexual dysfunction
  • yohimbine

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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