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Changes in sexual function and gonadal axis hormones after switching to aripiprazole in male schizophrenia patients: a prospective pilot study

Jeong, Hyun-Ghanga,b; Lee, Moon-Sooa,b; Lee, Hwa-Youngc; Ko, Young-Hoonb,d; Han, Changsub,d; Joe, Sook-Haenga,b

International Clinical Psychopharmacology: July 2012 - Volume 27 - Issue 4 - p 177–183
doi: 10.1097/YIC.0b013e328351c8c4
Original Articles

Antipsychotic-induced sexual dysfunction is a common problem in patients with schizophrenia. The aim of the study was to investigate the effect of switching to aripiprazole on sexual dysfunction and the hypothalamic–pituitary–gonadal axis in male patients with schizophrenia. In this prospective, open-label study, the participants were 10 male schizophrenia patients treated with atypical antipsychotics, risperidone, amisulpride, and olanzapine. Before and after switching to aripiprazole, they were assessed on the Arizona Sexual Experience Scale, and hormonal levels were measured. Our results showed a significant improvement in the severity of sexual dysfunction, especially in ‘ease of sexual arousal’ and ‘penile erection,’ as measured by the Arizona Sexual Experience Scale total scores after switching to aripiprazole (χ 2=12.45 and P=0.002). The serum prolactin level decreased significantly after switching to aripiprazole (χ 2=11.14 and P=0.004), but the changes in the total testosterone level were not significant (χ 2=4.75 and P=0.93). Our results suggest that sexual dysfunction in schizophrenia patients seems to improve after switching to aripiprazole from other atypical antipsychotics (risperiodone, amisulpride, or olanzapine). This may be associated with a change in dopamine and serotonin transmissions and a decrease in the serum prolactin concentration.

aDepartment of Psychiatry, Korea University Guro Hospital, Korea University College of Medicine

bKorea University Research Institute of Mental Health, Seoul

cDepartment of Psychiatry, Suncheonhang University Hospital, Suncheonhang University College of Medicine, Cheonan

dDepartment of Psychiatry, Korea University Ansan Hospital, Korea University College of Medicine, Ansan, Korea

Correspondence to Sook-Haeng Joe, MD, PhD, Department of Psychiatry, Korea University Guro Hospital, Korea University College of Medicine, 80, Guro-dong, Guro-gu, Seoul 152 703, Korea Tel: +82 226 263 161; fax: +82 285 21937; e-mail:

Received October 15, 2011

Accepted January 24, 2012

© 2012 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.