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The Association Between Psychotropic Drug Use and Fertility Problems Among Male Subjects


Journal of Psychiatric Practice®: January 2019 - Volume 25 - Issue 1 - p 22–33
doi: 10.1097/PRA.0000000000000353

Mental disorders affect a high percentage of the general population and are associated with a significant burden. One major component of treatment for mental illnesses is pharmacotherapy. Various psychotropic medications are used in the treatment of psychiatric disorders and these are often associated with a plethora of side effects. The many side effects of psychotropic drugs can severely impair patients’ quality of life and decrease their adherence to treatment. Among the relatively neglected and less-studied potential side effects of psychotropic drugs are impairment of sperm parameters and fertility problems among male patients. This article summarizes the data with regard to the effects of 6 widely used psychotropic drugslithium, valproate, haloperidol, olanzapine, imipramine, and fluoxetine—on sexual function and sperm parameters in male subjects. In general, the reviewed data suggest that these medications can be associated with sexual function problems and negative effects on sperm parameters among male subjects. It is important to note that most of the data are based on preclinical studies and nonrandomized clinical trials with relatively small sample sizes, so that it is not possible to draw unequivocal conclusions with regard to the clinical relevance of the findings. Prospective, randomized clinical trials are necessary to elucidate the effects of psychotropic drugs on men’s sperm parameters and fertility indices per se.

SOLOMON: Department of Microbiology, Immunology and Genetics, Faculty of Health Sciences, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, Beer-Sheva, Israel

SHVARTSUR and AZAB: Department of Nursing and Department of Clinical Biochemistry and Pharmacology–Faculty of Health Sciences, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, Beer-Sheva, Israel

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.

Please send correspondence to: Abed N. Azab, PhD, School for Community Health Professions, Faculty of Health Sciences, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, P.O. Box 653, Beer-Sheva 84105, Israel (e-mail:

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