There has been little systematic study of the types of sexual dysfunction produced by anti-depressant medication or of the frequency with which this type of adverse effect occurs. The authors report results of a double-blind study in which the effects of imipramine, phenelzine, and placebo on specific aspects of sexual function were assessed in depressed outpatients before and after 6 weeks of treatment. Both active treatments were associated with a high incidence of adverse changes in sexual function and produced significantly more adverse effects on sexual function than placebo. Orgasm and ejaculation were impaired to a greater extent than erection. Adverse sexual function changes secondary to anti-depressant medication occurred frequently in both men and women, although men reported a higher incidence. Antidepressant-related sexual dysfunction may be of clinical importance for medication compliance in view of current recommendations that antidepressants be administered for longer periods as maintenance therapy or for prophylaxis.
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