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Effects of Antipsychotics on Sexual and Endocrine Function in Women: Implications for Clinical Practice

Smith, Shubulade MBBS, MRCPsych

Journal of Clinical Psychopharmacology: June 2003 - Volume 23 - Issue 3 - pp S27-S32
doi: 10.1097/01.jcp.0000084035.22282.31
Improvement Without Impairment in Psychotic and Mood Disorders

Typical antipsychotic agents are commonly associated with hyperprolactinemia, which, in turn, leads to sexual dysfunction. The mechanism of action underlying this clinical phenomenon is mediated by the dopamine-blocking action of typical antipsychotic medications, which results in excessive prolactin secretion and secondary effects on gonadal function. This antipsychotic-induced sexual dysfunction is unacceptable to patients and is associated with nonadherence to medication, impacting on the overall clinical outcome and treatment success. Development of first-line atypical antipsychotic agents that do not affect prolactin production is therefore an important advance for patients requiring long-term antipsychotic therapy.

Maudsley Hospital, London, United Kingdom

Address requests for reprints to: Shubulade Smith, MBBS, MRCPsych, Maudsley Hospital, 103 Denmark Hill, London SE5 8AZ, United Kingdom. Address e-mail to: s.smith@iop.kcl.ac.uk.

© 2003 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.